Remote Support Best Practices: Tips for Avoiding “Tech Talk” Without Talking Down to Your Customers

Remote Support Best Practices: Tips for Avoiding “Tech Talk” Without Talking Down to Your Customers

A famous quote from Einstein is, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

There are two common frustrations with people that are dealing with any type of technology company, from their cable company to their IT provider. These are:

  • Hearing technical jargon and having no idea what it means; and
  • Getting talked down to like they’re a child.

Balancing those two can be challenging for a technology business owner, but it’s important if you want to keep good customer relations and continue growing your customer base.

42% of people will switch service companies if they feel put off by rude or unhelpful staff.

There’s a fine line during remote support sessions between oversimplifying and being way too technical in your explanations of an issue and resolution. But when you hit the sweet spot between the two, you can have a fruitful engagement with customers without any misunderstandings or hurt feelings.

The Problem With Speaking Tech Talk

When you speak in technology and IT jargon during a remote support session, what you say can go completely over the head of your client. You may think everyone knows what IP whitelisting means but find out later (when there is a problem) that wasn’t the case.

For example, say you’re adding an IT security measure that involves IP whitelisting. Your client only has a vague idea of what you mean, so when you ask if there are any other IP addresses to add to the whitelist, they say “no.”

Then a day or two later, you receive a frantic call because staff members suddenly can’t connect to resources. All the client knows is that something was working and now it’s broken because of something you did during your remote support session.

Had you noted that IP whitelisting looks at the virtual address of every device connecting to a system and blocks those not on the list you could have avoided a problem and a bad experience for your customer. They may have realized you were asking about the actual employee devices that needed to connect.

The Problem With “Talking Down” to Customers

On the flip side of speaking “tech talk” is speaking down to customers. No one likes to be disrespected, which is what they feel when they think they’re being talked down to.

They might feel that you’re wasting their time by over-explaining something that they already know. They can also end up feeling that they know more than you do because you’re speaking to them on such a low level of technical expertise.

How to Walk the Fine Line Between “Tech Talk” and “Talking Down”

Read the Room

When someone makes an inappropriate or irrelevant comment in a group, a friend might say to them, “Read the room!”

What this means for your remote support engagements is to cue from your client’s technical knowledge as you’re providing support.

If you’re getting ready to launch into an explanation of how email signatures work when helping someone with an email issue, pause and see if you’re getting some feedback. Such as, “Yes, I have my email signature set up already.” You’ll gain a clue into their technical knowledge and can adjust accordingly. 

MSP providers can be working with customers at drastically different technology comfort zones, and you must be able to adjust how you explain an issue and resolution to match each level.

Watch Your Tone

When people feel talked down to, it’s generally about the tone of the support person. You can say the same exact thing and have it taken two different ways, depending upon your tone.

If someone is hearing a condescending tone in your voice, they will instantly go into defensive mode, which is going to make your work harder and strain the customer/business relationship.

You may not have any idea that you’re speaking in a “tone,” at all. But if you begin to get negative reviews that mention this, it’s a clue that you may need to make some adjustments.

Learn to Explain Things Simply Using Examples

Going back to the Einstein quote about explaining things simply, often an example is a great way to shed light on a technical explanation.

For example, say you’re trying to explain how memory impacts performance and why someone may need a memory upgrade.

If you launch into a monologue about 8GB of RAM compared to 12GB of RAM, you’re bound to lose some people.

Instead use an example and simple, understandable terms, such as: 

“Memory, or RAM, impacts how many things you can do on a computer at one time. Expanding your system memory allows the PC to handle more programs being open at once and can respond faster to requests.

For example, I worked with a client having problems similar to yours with browser windows freezing, especially if they had videos or ads loading. We tripled their memory from 4GB to 12GB, and those freezing problems were eliminated. I think increasing your system memory will do the same for you.”

Use Speech Techniques for Better Remote Support Communications

One of the tenants of giving good speeches and training sessions includes these three steps:

  1. Tell them what you’re going to do.
  2. Do the thing.
  3. Tell them what you did.

Often support technicians might miss a step, causing confusion and leaving customers feeling uninformed.

Once you diagnose an issue, explain in simple terms what you’ll do to resolve it (rather than just jumping in keys flying).

Then once you’ve finished your session, you can explain the fix or resolution. One great way to do this when the client’s device may be unattended is to use remote support software, like Instant Housecall, that allows you to leave a visible “sticky note” on the customer’s computer. This neatly closes that communication circle.  

Use a Remote Support Software That Makes Your Connections Easy

When you’re trying to explain and address an issue, the last thing you want is problematic remote connection software. Instant Housecall is a powerful yet easy-to-use remote support tool that makes your life easier so you can focus on your customer support.

Try Instant Housecall risk-free for 15 days and experience it for yourself!

How to Build Trust in Your Remote Support Marketing

How to Build Trust in Your Remote Support Marketing

One thing that can hold people back from using remote support services is that they’re afraid of having someone open a connection to their PC.

They may think, “Is this opening a ‘back door’ that can be used later for stealing my information?” Or… “Are they going to be able to see all my browsing history and personal photos?”

In the case of a business client, they may wonder the same types of things about data security and whether opening a remote portal will somehow leave them at risk, even if it’s not from you, but from a hacker that later finds that portal.

Remote support is only going to grow as a portion of an MSP and IT business owner’s revenue. According to a survey by Gartner, 80% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part-time post-pandemic, and 47% of them plan to enable full-time work-from-home employees.

Tips for Marketing the Safety & Security of Your Remote Support

Marketing your remote support services successfully should include addressing how to let customers know remote support is safe. Getting past this major barrier can keep you from losing potential business and help your company take advantage of the remote working trend.

Highlight the One-Time Connection

You can help alleviate fears that unscrupulous hackers will find your connection “portal” and use it to continue connecting to a PC after the support call by noting how one-time connections work.

When marketing remote support for one-time support calls (not ongoing MSP monitoring) emphasize the “one-and-done” nature of your support software.

When people know that you can only connect one time, unless they give you permission otherwise, it alleviates fears of an ongoing IT security weakness that might cause a breach later.

Use easy-to-understand terms, such as the Time Window. Explain that customers can open up a time window of their choosing for up to 12 hours and that the “portal” closes and can’t be reopened beyond that window.

Address the Remote Support Scam Element

A customer might not come out and say it, but in the back of their mind, they may be wondering about all those “Microsoft support” scams they’ve heard about online. This can cause them to be tentative about contacting you for remote support.

Address the elephant in the room and get it out of the way by including a note on your remote support page that speaks to the differences between your service and those unscrupulous support scams.

Here are some ideas:

  • We never call you unsolicited and ask to connect (unlike those scams).
  • You can see us in person at our shop, so you know who is assisting you virtually.
  • We’ve been a trusted (name of city) fixture for x years (we’re not a stranger).

Promote the Security In Common Terms

It’s important to not just say that you use 256-bit SSL encryption but to explain what that means beyond the “techie term” that a layperson may not know.

For example, you might say, “Our remote support connections use 256-bit SSL encryption, which is one of the most secure encryption methods used worldwide. Hackers would need to guess 256 separate bits of information to try to crack the encryption. According to experts, that would take millions of years to hack.”

Now, you’ve translated the encryption standard into common terms that everyone can understand. Their takeaway is that your remote support can’t be hacked unless a hacker has a few million years to try.

Include Social Proof

No matter what you’re selling, social proof is important. This means having testimonials and quotes from other customers.

78% of people trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation from friends or family. So, adding a quote from a few other customers about how great your remote support is, can make someone else feel better about using it (e.g., “If that accounting firm is okay using their remote support, then I guess it really is secure.”)

Mention Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Another security protocol you want to highlight is multi-factor authentication. If you’re using a tool like Instant Housecall with MFA support, it goes a long way towards alleviating any security concerns about a hacker being able to somehow exploit the remote connection.

Go beyond just saying you use MFA and explain what that means:

“Technicians need to enter a code that is sent only to our company cell numbers before they can log in. This keeps hackers from accessing remote support connections because they don’t have access to the MFA code.”

Use a Remote Support Software With Rock-Solid Security

Instant Housecall remote support software incorporates multiple security standards you can market to your customers, including a time window, 256-bit encryption, and MFA.

Try Instant Housecall risk-free for 15 days and experience it for yourself!