Communicating With Those That Are Less Tech Savvy

Anyone that has ever worked any notable period of time in the world of technology, computers or website development understands the frustration that can come along with explaining technical aspects of work to someone who still needs directions on how to send an email or an explanation of what a JPEG is. I have even experienced the difficulties of trying to explain to a real estate agent what it meant to select (or highlight) text in a word document.

Over the past decade I have run into several instances where my assumption about what everyone should know about technology was proven to be very misguided. I’ve even experienced simple things like turning on a cell phone, sending an email, or saving a image from the web as being difficult tasks for some.

With that said, it’s not hard to understand why trying to explain website hosting, HTML code, or Search Engine Optimization to a client can be a near impossible task at times.

Below are some tips I’ve found helpful for creating a better communications experience with your clients.

Start From The Beginning

The most important thing when trying to explain a very technical task to a client is to make sure that you start from the beginning. A lot of times, it is better to answer the “why?” regarding the topic before actually trying to explain the technical aspects.

SEO is a great example. There are some many angles to cover in regards to SEO, it is far better for a client to understand why they need SEO done on their website first. Once they have a grasp of that, then get into the details of what types of work you’ll be doing.

One Thing At A Time

Try not to jumble the different technicalities or explain multiple things at once. Discuss one detail at a time, thoroughly, and be sure not to go down bunny trails that are off-topic. Meetings like these are better of if you’re not thinking out loud.

Also make sure that you’re not giving them details that they don’t need or that they simply will never understand.

Use Analogies

I’ve discovered that using planned analogies can greatly improve the client’s ability to understand.

When describing what it is like to build a new website, I use a car analogy. I tell clients that a website is like a car. The design is what the car will look like, I explain that it will have certain features, the hosting and programming are the engine and the marketing plan is the fuel that keeps the car running (this is the simplified version).

When explaining SEO, I refer to the client’s website as a DVD rental hub, similar to Netflix. Customers (which represent Google) visit Netflix (your website) and rent good movies (view content on your website). Customers continue to watch them and go back to rent more movies. Eventually, if they run out of new movies to rent, they will return to visit less frequently.

Websites are very similar. You need new, fresh, quality content on a frequent basis. If Google finds new, quality content every time that it visits, then it will continue to make frequent visits to your website. If it comes back and doesn’t find new content for months at a time, then its visits to your site will be less frequent.

Have Patience

The most important factor to remember is to be patient with everyone. Think of it as an opportunity to teach, just as it is likely that someone at some point took the time to teach you things. If you put the time in initially, then it will make future considerations and projects with these customers and clients much smoother.