PC Pal’s MD talks about focusing on customers’ needs

Better Business: ‘Remember people aren’t IT experts’

Jat Mann discusses technobabble and why avoiding it can help you communicate with customers…

This month I will continue with my theme of offering tips and advice by focussing on customers’ needs. By seeing things from the customer’s perspective, this technique will help you achieve high customer service standard, which in turn will ensure customers come back again and again.

However, and particularly in the IT industry and car servicing sector, people can fall into the trap of expecting the customer to immediately understand the terms and phrases we use everyday.

Although you might think that everyone can speak English and shares the same vocabulary, different words and phrases have different interpretations, both in terms of geographical areas and generations. One example that comes to mind is by way of a customer who called us recently stating he had trouble with his ‘wireless’. He said it had been working fine for a long time, but now he had trouble getting sound from it.

When the support team enquired whether the customer was able to access Google or any website, the customer asked what ‘Google’ was. As the investigation continued over the phone, the support team was not able to ascertain from the customer the OS, make and model of his equipment or how long he’d owned the equipment.

Asking him if he’d ‘rebooted’ his system was greeted by silence. And then the penny dropped – the customer was an elderly gentleman who listened to his radio everyday which was often referred to a ‘wireless’! He didn’t own a computer and never had, let alone go on the internet. Sadly we weren’t able to help him, but put him in touch with a specialist (by Googling it).

And it’s not just customers who can be baffled by what you and I would expect to have been adopted as common terms.

We once employed a member of the team who, whilst impressive during an interview, when asked to log onto the internet via either Chrome or Internet Explorer, asked ‘what is a browser’?

So, my tops tip for avoiding technobabble is remember people aren’t IT experts (even those who work for IT companies) and talking in layman’s terms to begin with will enable you to find out the appropriate phrases and jargon to use.

Jat Mann is MD of www.PCPal.co.uk. You can contact him on jat@pcpal.co.uk

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