How to talk tech, with non-technical clients

talking-tech

talking tech, with non-technical clients

Imagine this: You have finally found a way to make your clients website better using a new plugin or modifying an existing plugins code. You are getting excited and really confident for the results but when the time comes to explain this to the client you can see his eyes roll around in confusion. The client obviously have not understand anything you said and that will affect you and your business.

People with non-technical knowledge about programming, websites, wordpress, hear the words we use like php, plugins, databases, cache but for them it’s like a completely foreign language. So it’s up to us to make things simple so that every client can understand and appreciate our work.

1) Explain in simple words

For example a client of yours do not know anything more than the word wordpress. Although it’s not productive to explain every single word to your client, a certain amount of clarification is a must when you work with them. If they understand what your doing, they will feel like they are a part of the project and that’s always beneficial for both parties. Always practice breaking down complex words, terms and ideas into everyday vernacular. Trust me, you will be thanked later.

2) It’s time to teach

educate-clients

 

A good communication with a client will help you get more clients afterwards. One of the most common ways you teach your client and you don’t even know it, it’s when you are trying to explain him how to manage the dashboard without your help. How to make new posts, write articles like this, delete comments, and more. It takes time and effort to educate a client how to handle a CMS, especially if he is non-technical.

Even if we would like our clients to be depended on us for their every wordpress need, there are just some things they need to do by themselves. It’s wise to use a day of your contract to educate your client on how to use the website. In addition you can provide online video courses, or written tutorials that will help the clients understand the functionality.

3) Patience

patience-yoga

I can’t stress this enough. Patience is one of the most important things to keep in mind in our line of work. It’s not always easy to handle a client. Communication sometimes is fragile and easily broken. Learning a client complex programming related words it’s not always easy. You will encounter all types of clients, those who will be eager to learn, those who want to learn but they are not trying hard enough and those who simply refuse to learn complex technical words, making your job in the end harder. Striving to be the most professional, most reliable developer will not only help facilitate better communication, it will also help you land more client referrals in the future.

But what do we do when we have a client that just refuses to learn? Well sometimes it’s better to have reduced communication with a certain client, or try to communicate with a different person within the company. Difficult clients with non-technical knowledge that refuse to learn but they demand to know are nightmares, and patience it’s the key to avoid a conflict with them. On the other hand if things are out of control you got two option. Either be firm and explain that everything you do are necessary, or quit the project (something that we never want to do).

Conclusion

Communication between Web Developers and Clients is not always the easiest to be achieved. However with effort from both parties the gap can be bridged and ensure a healthy working relationship. Once again they ways i explained above:

  • Figure out the way you will translate Technical words into common vernacular for making the client feel like a part of the project and speeding the workflow, as a happy client is a cooperative client.
  • Use a day or two from your contract to educate your client about the technology your about to use, the method or technique.
  • Last but most important. Patience. This will help you be a professional every time.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you have any stories with clients without technical words knowledge? I would like read your comments.

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4 Comments
  • Jane Jackson says:

    Agree ! Must be patient!
    The clients are different. Somebody is good understanding, somebody is not!
    If you are not patient, the system will not work.

  • Nick Morrison says:

    As a long-time educator, I can confirm that communication is frequently the biggest obstacle to ANY client relationship. It can also be the best cement.
    Besides the LANGUAGE, as Tom mentions in this posting, there is also the communications STYLE.
    In these days of technology, there are nearly infinite different styles of communication, and as developers we must absolutely understand that each client’s style will be different.
    For example, I have one client (1,500 miles away) whose preferred method of communicating is via phone call – right at my dinnertime. I have always taken his calls, and as a result, he has had me build seven different websites for him.
    In another example, I have client whose office is less than two miles from my home office. He rarely answers texts, phone calls, or emails, but when I have something urgent, I can frequently catch him by dropping by his office. He will call me on the phone maybe once a year, but the result is that not only has he given me four websites to build, he has also sent me three other clients.
    Bottom line here, folks, is that as developers, even though we may have our own preferred communication styles (I much prefer email), we absolutely MUST learn each client’s preferred communication style, and use it with them.
    To do otherwise is tantamount to telling your clients to go find some other developer.

  • Monica says:

    As per my experience during first meeting with new client is “Be Patient”. Nice post again…

  • Melody Lee says:

    In our business, our clients have a lot of confusion with the differences in terms regarding the website, hosting, and domains. We have learned to use a simple word picture to assist them in understanding the differences and it has been extremely helpful.
    Think of the website as a “building” or “home”. Each home needs two things: a parcel of land to sit on and a street address. Hosting, we equate to the parcel of land that the home has to sit on, while the domain is the street address. This explanation helps our customers to understand there are differences between these two terms, without being condescending while using everyday terms that people can relate to.

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