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How to Help a Technophobe

There are going to be moments when we all just feel dumb and clumsy…argh! And it feels so awful. For me, this photo really brings those feelings to life. Whether it’s an ice cream cone or the latest technology, many people feel inept, gawky, and awkward when handling something potentially fragile and easy to drop. “Technophobe” is the term coined to describe someone who either fears, dislikes or avoids new technology. And I assert that most of your customers are going to be somewhere on the technophobe continuum.

Interacting with a Technophobe

It’s common for me, during an AV consultation, to intimidate others who don’t know tech. I think it’s just my presence and my own use of technology. Usually, I don’t even need to get into anything deep when someone quickly admits, “Just so you know, I am tech illiterate!”

I have zero formal education in psychology. But, based on my experiences, I think people have to say “I am dumb” upfront so they are not called out on it later. It seems to me that their intent is to protect themselves from being embarrassed.

Now, I will let the psychology professionals handle embarrassment issues, but I would like to share how I personally and professionally address these situations. Here are my suggestions:

  1. Ask and answer questions with common language and in laymen’s terms.

  2. Soften your body language so you appear nurturing and helpful, not boastful.

  3. Give them confidence by affirming they made a good choice to seek a professional with experience. This will build them up and inject trust, which translates into loyalty.

Helping a Technophobe

While most of your customers agree that AV tech is going to meet their need or solve their problem, human nature is naturally resistant to change. Even if you have thoroughly explained your product or service, you will encounter technophobic customers who may not only be reluctant but also hostile. So, what do software companies do when they are brought in to an organization for an IT overhaul? Here are some insights from Jenny Ward, a Marketing Manager with DSD Business Systems:

Figure Out What’s Wrong

Frequently, as I shared above, many customers don’t want to appear ignorant or foolish. They may not speak up if they see a potential problem or are having difficulties understanding a new system. There is always a reason why people are slower adapting to new ways of thinking and doing. So, have a candid conversation to learn their concerns and common complaints. Then, work closely with them to show how you are addressing those issues and how your AV is improving their environment.

Offer Better Training

I know it can be tempting to leave a customer with a manual or a trouble-shooting guide, but follow-up training is often an overlooked and imperative service. Not only do we need to work side-by-side with our customers, we need to offer training and customer support to other end-users as well. And this support needs to be offered through a variety of formats. Most importantly, be available for one-on-one support for obvious or self-described technophobes.

Celebrate the Wins

Did your customer see an immediate positive result with your product or service? Make this a big deal! Post it on social media. Throw a party. Write a press release.

You can even celebrate the little wins. For example, ask your customer, “Do you have a smart phone?” Since the answer is likely yes, now you can share an amazing fact. The phone in their pocket is millions of times more powerful than all of NASA’s combined computing in 1969.

Welcome to the Tech Club!

Tony, the AV Guy

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