The basis of successful cooperation with a software house is efficient communication. Non-technical clients often have great ideas for their products but lack technical expertise. Here are some tips for bridging the communication gap between developers and non-tech clients.
What happens when a nontechnical entrepreneur approaches a development team to tell them about their vision? IT team is usually focused on concrete solutions and communicates in terms of tech stack. However, there is no reason that clients that never created an application should use and grasp the technical jargon. Luckily there are some ways to avoid a communication clash.
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Things you will learn
Clients serve an essential and continuous advisory role throughout the IT project — and should be included as such. The client needs to be an active participant in the process of software development to have a clear understanding of the path toward their product’s launch. However, when the client isn’t a tech-savvy person, things may get complicated.
- What are the risks of communicating with non-technical clients,
- A bunch of tips that will help you improve communicating technical concepts,
- How to maintain perfect communication with a client when developing software solutions.
6 Steps To Communicate Effectively With Non-Technical Clients
In software development reality, sometimes it may be easy to forget that the client should be at the center of everything you do. Explaining technical things to non-technical clients is often viewed as a chore, but actually, it’s an art that can be easily mastered. Thus, we’ve gathered tips that will come in handy for an IT team whenever the client asks: “Could you clarify it?”.
1. Avoid using technical jargon
If an IT company uses only technical terminology in its interactions with non-technical customers, the communication will fail. Why should a client care about using the framework in an application? Or, is there a point in telling him that the library needs to be upgraded? Let’s keep it simple! If speaking directly to nontechnical users, explain the “why” of your work rather than “what” you’re trying to do.
2. Focus on benefits
Instead of going into too many intrinsic technical details, it’s better to focus on presenting business benefits. Present how your software can help to scale up and grow their business.
Check out our case study and find out how we helped our client, one of the most promising startups from Vienna, to make their vision come true.
3. Get familiarized with your customer’s world
Research your client’s background and grasp the meaning of their enterprise’s characteristics. Ensure that you know enough of their professional work status to understand the level of communication you can render to them. Also, understand the level of a technicality they are aware of and tread on the same lines when you communicate with them.
4. Step into the user’s shoes
Many developers fall into their traps and try to see if a product works for a developer. Then, communication with non-technical clients will always fail. So, what a software house should do is describe the product’s functionality from the point of view of user experience.
5. Visualize your points with real-life examples
The importance of great communication increases the chance of you being successful in delivering an excellent and efficient product. However, you must meet your client halfway. Good analogies will help you explain technical problems to non-technical people. The project can progress only if you avoid misunderstandings on both sides: non-technical clients and engineers. You can easily achieve this with the help of examples such as similar products or functions in other applications. Real examples of your company’s work will not only contribute to your reliability but also help to improve communication with the client.
6. Get prepared
Prepare the list of the most difficult terms and share it with your client before the meeting. It will help you avoid the blank expressions appearing on their faces as you say those terms during a meeting, and also avoid losing time because the specific term is explained.
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What is the main risk of building software for a non-technical client?
Preparing an IT project for a non-technical client carries out some risks. The biggest one usually is setting up no boundaries. How to avoid this trap? Every software development process requires setting up clear rules at the beginning. Non-technical clients often aren’t fully aware of how much time and effort developers need to build just one more feature. To avoid it, you can come to the table with defined boundaries: budget, timeline, features, etc.
Identify the parts of the product the client needs the most. It’s better to start with a narrow scope and get limited to the top 2–3 requirements to create a solid foundation. It will help the developers’ team stick to the plan when a client insists on introducing too many changes. Well-established goals will prevent deviating too much from the original plan. The best workflow is to release, then refine.
- Keep clients up-to-date – Take care your customers receive regular updates on progress and can see how their team contributed to accomplishing a given goal.
- Go beyond coding – It is useless to discuss only bugs and code. It will not help you and may cause customer discomfort.
- Take the user’s perspective – Whenever describing software functionality, you must assume the viewpoint of the end-user.
- Keep it simple and focus on the results – The customer will be happy if the project is explained in detail but in simple terms. It’s also important to show them how each step in the development process will bring their goal closer to being achieved.
Find out what you should avoid in an IT project: 10 Mistakes To Avoid in Software Development Project
How do we nourish relationships with non-technical clients?
At fireup.pro, we build software for non-technical clients on a daily basis. Here are proven ways that help us always communicate well with non-technical clients, and fix the communication gaps to deliver the best results.
- Educate the client – We believe it is always worth making clients aware of the best project management ways. That’s why we put on knowledge-sharing and provide clients with proven software development strategies.
- Understand the client’s real needs – Unfortunately, many startups and small companies do not have a separate department responsible for creating software. They do, however, have their own vision. So, in this case, we always listen to our client’s ideas and translate them into concrete IT solutions, thanks to our proven work methods.
Build trusted teams – While delivering software, we focus on something more than choosing a tech stack and meeting the requirements. Our core values are people and their talents. So, we build trusted IT teams – the best specialists in their fields, who together act as a unity.
The real value in creating digital products is not only technology. It is about people and their actions. Thus, our attention focuses on people who work as a team, but use their individual talents to deliver the best results for the clients. The key to success is choosing your trusted technology partner who truly understands your needs. Only good collaboration will bring out effective software solutions for your business.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us — we’ll be more than happy to advise you on your IT issues! For more fresh news from the IT world, visit our blog. Here, we regularly post on technology-related topics.