Tech companies struggle to connect with customers for a very simple reason. Their technologies stem from ingenious engineering, and engineers are habitually analytical and logical. Ask an engineer to develop a system, and they’re in their element. But ask them to explain it, particularly to a non-technical audience, and they’ll likely have a difficult time.
This can be a huge problem for great innovators. One can produce class-leading solutions, but fail to compete because they don’t know how to market those solutions. They also struggle to make them optimally intuitive. Industry leaders accept the vitality of accessibility. Apple is the the best example of this. It’s frustrating to see remarkable tech go to waste because of lackluster presentation.
The opportunity for consumer-level tech companies to succeed is massive at the moment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown efforts require people to work from home. If you’re in the tech field, this is a time to show the world what you have to offer.
Here are four ways tech brands can connect with customers this year:
Use Straightforward Language
When companies need to produce documentation for products or services, they have technical writers handle the “translation.” The writers take complex, insider terminology and reduce it to terms the intended audience can understand. This year, tech brands should go through that process for all public-facing materials.
It’s important to make a strong first impression. Homepages must cut to the heart of what technologies mean. Consider something like artificial intelligence (AI), which is a huge trend in the tech world and has been for a while. Many hotels leverage AI and will likely enhance efforts post-Coronavirus. Most consumers don’t care about the specifics of AI — they just want to know what it will do for them.
Take FitnessAI as an example. It’s a service that uses AI to generate optimal fitness routines. How does the homepage open? “Get Stronger with AI.” Using information later elaborated on, it could have read something like “Automatically-Generated Fitness Routines Based on 5.9m Recorded Workouts” — which would have been needlessly complicated.
Breezeful takes the same approach. Breezeful is a mortgage broker that uses machine learning to compare numerous quotes. Its homepage is even simpler. It starts with “Get The Best Mortgage” and leads into “30+ lenders. Great rates. 5-star reviews.” It doesn’t even mention AI because it doesn’t need to. The point is in the superlative: the best mortgage.
Communicate via Social Media
If they’re determined to speak to end users, engineering types can venture to social media to explain things more casually. Or, hire social media managers to do what technical writers do, but within the context of quippy back-and-forth exchanges.
The social media world isn’t private and sanitized in the way internal support systems are. Though that makes it more challenging, it also makes it more useful. There’s a level of vulnerability you accept when you talk to people on a platform like Twitter. Anyone could ask a provocative question or be strongly critical.
Tech brands need to be comfortable with how they present social media content. They need to be able to engage in light conversations on social media with people from different backgrounds and with varied knowledge levels.
Explain Visions of the Future
Customers want to know what motivates a brand. It isn’t enough to have the best products or services, even if people know they’re the best. If something about a company makes it unlikable, people will shy away from it. Think about how corporate ethics has gone from a secondary concern to a matter of great urgency, particularly with regard to social media.
At this point, any company that is found to be operating unethically won’t suffer at the hands of governmental regulations: it’ll be torn apart by social media backlash. Businesses that have laudable goals, though, will be supported even through difficult times.
The question tech companies need to answer, then, is simple: “What does your vision of the future involve?” For example, Apple might say something like “Everyone using incredible technology that’s easy enough for kids to use and powerful enough to change lives.” By coming up with a vision of the future that resonates with people, a tech brand can neatly explain the intended long-term consequences of its technology.
Ask for Detailed Feedback
Simply noting what people say through social media isn’t enough. So much of the tech world is now subscription-based, making customer loyalty even more important. Instead of winning someone over once, you may need to do it many times over the course of years. And one of the keys to building a strong customer relationship is to request and act on feedback.
Some tech companies want to think they know far better than their customers what features to add, remove, or tweak. That’s simply the wrong way to look at things. Even if they’re right, the fact remains it’s the customers who pay their bills, and if most customers want a change, then it should probably be made.
Those companies should make a habit of consulting their longest-serving customers, asking them what they like and dislike about their products and/or services. The resulting feedback can be carefully considered, and anything that really hits home can be used. The resulting changes won’t just achieve improvements the customers will care about; they’ll also make those customers feel more appreciated, which will further solidify their loyalty.