I was reading A Rookie Mistake over at Support Ops today. Chase talks about an exchange with a customer that went like this.

Me: Where are you logging in at? I’ll take a look and see what’s going on.

Customer: My desktop computer.

This got me thinking about the assumptions we make with our customers. In the course of my job, I find myself in similar situations all the time.

For instance, the newest version of the VPN client we use at work was updated and VPN is no longer in th name. It is now called Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client.”

A computer savvy person wouldn’t find a huge problem with this. However, when I’m trying to explain to a customer they need to click the VPN Client icon and they don’t see anything that says VPN they become confused.

Along with the name change, the icon also changes from a padlock icon to a generic looking bubble. So the customers who are creatures of habit and have learned what they need to click by name and icon are not completely lost.

Working with customers who have varying levels of computer savvy and varying understanding of the English language means my job is part translator and part computer technician.

Sometimes I must translate geek to human, other times geek to English, sometimes just plain English in terms my customer can understand.

I try to keep a rule in mind when I am going to help a customer and that is simply to assume nothing. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t walk into a situation assuming your customer knows anything. Start with simple questions and see where they take you.

If the customer is computer savvy, you will quickly find out and can elevate the conversation. However, if the customer doesn’t know anything about their computer you don’t frustrate them further.