We’ve all experienced it: you go to the doctor and they share that you have a fourteen-word diagnosis, rather than stating, “You have a common cold – it’s all good.” Someone fixes something in your home and casually rattles of an intricate explanation that leaves you with bug eyes and a dazed look on your face.

Can someone please explain to me why professionals, of all vocations, assume their customers are well-versed in their fields? Did I go to medical school? No. So, why would I be familiar with fourteen-word term? Am I a repairman? Definitely not. So, tell me why a lengthy and technical solution will make sense to me.

I’m a word nerd. It’s what I went to school for and is what I know and love. But I never assume that anyone outside of my field cares about the ongoing debate: to use or not use the oxford comma, because why would they? So, shouldn’t you be talking to your customers under the assumption that they didn’t go to HVAC school and have no idea what a High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestor (HEPA) is? Absolutely.

It’s all about layman’s terms, people. Chances are, your customers don’t have expert HVAC knowledge, and so, knowing that, can you explain your process in terms that they can understand? If someone is paying you for a service, they should able to clearly understand what it is you did and why. I don’t need to know each and every step you took to get there, but I’d like to know what was done and why since I paid you to do so. Not asking for a lot here.

I was telling my editorial director, Kyle Gargaro, how frustrating it is when a professional is providing me with a service that I’m paying for, and, when I ask a question, they make me feel like an idiot for not knowing what they’re talking about. Or, if they say, “It probably doesn’t make sense to you, but that’s ok – don’t worry about it.” It’s incredibly insulting and also very rude. If I’m paying for it, shouldn’t I know exactly what it is I am paying for?

If you really want to leave a customer satisfied – take the time to explain to them, in layman’s terms, what the problem was and how you solved it. It may seem obvious, but I think it’s something people tend to overlook after years of doing the same things over and over again. If you take ten minutes to show me what you did, and explain it to me in a way I can understand, I’m that much more apt to call you again. Show your customer the value of what you did by speaking to them in a way they can understand.

Publication date: 11/13/2017