tl;dr Nerds don’t have to be antisocial. In-person communication tells us more than plain text ever can. Contact creates trust. Enthusiasm is contagious.
As IT workers, we are affectionately called nerds and geeks. As such, we’re well aware our brand does not call to mind anything remotely resembling an extrovert. What people imagine isn’t just the opposite of a “people person”, but something wholly satirical. SNL’s Nick Burns, The Big Bang Theory, and The IT Crowd come to mind.
It is perhaps no surprise, then, that when we tell our clients a technician will be at their office every week – whether they ask us to be or not – that we are met with more than a little bit of hesitation. Sometimes, there is a look of interest at the sheer novelty of it. More often than not, Why? is scrawled upon their faces.
“Why do you send a tech to my office ever week?”
We thought we’d take a moment to answer that unasked but most evident of questions.
1. Body language is important
Allow us to point to the obvious. Our clients don’t actually ask us why. We only know that they want to know why because we’re sitting in front of them, looking at their puzzled expression. In a nutshell, this is reasons 1, 2, and 3.
Body language accounts for 55% of what’s communicated. Though this figure isn’t exact, it’s a good rule of thumb. When we’re face-to-face, body language let’s us know when someone is distracted, angry, or we haven’t made ourselves clear.
2. Touch brings trust
Touch brings trust comes from FastCompany’s excellent article detailing the benefits of in-person communication. As noted, a handshake and the proximity of another human being creates literal (and figurative) warmth. When people are warm, they feel safe.
We often work with our clients when they’re under a deadline or regarding sensitive data. Sometimes a technology is profoundly confusing. Our clients must trust us to do what’s best for their business.
3. Emotional contagion
It’s happened more than once that in our excitement for what a new technology means for a client’s industry, we start speaking in the technobabble we promise not to use. We correct it as soon as we catch it, but, hey, we’re human.
That works the other way, too. Sometimes, we don’t know what a project, deadline, or new hire means to our clients. An email labeled, “Exciting News” or a non-committal text reading “important” just doesn’t quite convey the moment.
When we’re face-to-face with a client, we get it. We have no choice but to get it. Excitement is contagious. Whether it’s a momentous event, the urgency of a project deadline six months out, or whatever monotonous process is sapping the creativity out of the business, we know where to align our efforts to help our clients produce.
One more reason
We promised just three reasons in the title, but there is a fourth. The fourth reason is so near-and-dear to us that we think it deserves its own post. That reason is to ask questions. Not just any questions and especially not annoying questions. We ask the kind of questions that improve productivity, reduce stress, and build your business.
We agree that we’re defying a stereotype when we send a team member to your office every week. We know that can be a little confusing at first. We hope that you will agree it is a great and necessary change from how technology has previously been administered. Do spread the word that gone are the days of one-sided communiques from on high that tell of the great, new features that you will love despite your inability to use them. Instead, introduce a friend, face-to-face, to Sherwood Chamberlain, the friendly, human face of technology.