Last week, my partner’s computer died. At least, we thought it had. It switched itself off suddenly and wouldn’t turn on again. It had been on the blink for a while, so we feared the worst.
We thought he’d probably need a new one, but we weren’t sure. Could we save the old one? If not, could we retrieve the data? We had a lot of questions that Google couldn’t help us with.
We needed to ask a geek.
We went to Geeks on Wheels because their website said they ‘explain things without using technobabble’.
The ‘geek’ who served us sat down with us and talked through all our options. He used simple, straightforward language. A couple of times we asked him to simplify things even further, and he was happy to do so.
He never rolled his eyes or smiled snidely at our lack of techno-savvy. He didn’t try to impress us with his depth of knowledge. He didn’t rush us. And he didn’t use our lack of expertise to sell us anything we didn’t need. He laid out the options as simply as possible, and helped us choose the one that suited us best.
In short, he treated us with respect.
Geeks on Wheels clearly understand what plain English is all about. It’s not just about conveying meaning. It’s not just about getting rid of jargon. Plain English is about connection. About creating an atmosphere that your audience feels comfortable in. Only then can you tell them what you need them to know.
You need to work hard at getting the tone right. You need to think about things from someone else’s point of view, talk to them honestly, and treat them as you’d like to be treated.
When you do this well, you stand out from all the others who get it so wrong.
For us, Geeks on Wheels’ approach really worked. We ended up with a rebuilt computer, not a new one, which saved us a couple of thousand dollars. And we walked out of their HQ ready to recommend their service to our friends.
Good on you, Geeks on Wheels. You’re simultaneously embracing and busting the geek stereotype, and setting a standard that others should aim for.