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Explaining Tech to Non-Tech or How to Speak the Customer’s Language

One of the peculiarities of working in customer support at a tech company is that you should be able to communicate with your co-workers and clients in the language that is familiar to them. On one hand, it is an exciting and interesting experience, on the other hand - you need to carefully choose the words you use and the principles of communication to avoid misunderstandings. Terms that make perfect sense to you can sound like gibberish to your customers.

For example, the abbreviation “PM” can stand for Product Management, Program Management, Product Marketing, Project Management etc.

Here are some remarks on how to talk to a customer about technical things to be understood correctly (and avoid misinterpretations).

1. Speaking the same language

Do not forget that people often live and develop in different environments, which ultimately drives misunderstanding. For illustration, imagine yourself at a doctor's, who, instead of speaking “your language” uses lots of terms you have never heard before. Similarly, a client who is not familiar with specific terminology will be repelled by its abundance in writing and/or speaking, and you risk losing a prospect. Therefore, patience and replacement or explanation of professional jargon are what you need.

2. The assumption that plays a bad joke

Often, arguments end with such phrases: "I thought you knew it!", or “It's obvious, how can one not understand this”. Therefore, if you have such an opportunity - before a discussion, make sure your interlocutor is familiar with the terms or phenomena related to it to avoid misunderstandings.

3. Take a many-sided approach

Use various analogies and parallels from those areas and aspects of life that a person has come across until the listener understands. Yes, sometimes it may take a while, but it’s worth it.

4. Think wider

You can help a client very much and even exceed their expectations if you answer not only one question, but also the questions that are most likely to arise after the issue at hand is cleared up. You will boost customer satisfaction and loyalty by acting this way.

There is one more thing: in order to avoid the “broken phone” effect in difficult situations, you may organize Skype meetings or phone conversations where technical specialists from your side and from the client’s side will be able to discuss the issue directly with each other and thus solve the task much faster.

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