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Old 10-19-2019, 12:55 PM   #1
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Default In Layman's Terms - Explaining Problems Without Causing a Panic



Your clients are relying on you to not only solve their problems but to do so economically. When they hear you speak about the problem using the terms of the trade, it can cause them to panic, thinking the problem is worse than it really is.

One of the hidden duties of being a plumber is being able to explain the problem in such a way that your client can understand it - even without technical knowledge. Being able to do so in a manner that’s easy to digest and doesn’t cause even a momentary panic over the health of their plumbing system (or wallet) is a skill that can be learned and honed.

Assume No Prior Knowledge

When explaining a problem to your clients, assume they have zero prior knowledge of plumbing at all. If they do, you can scale up the conversation to meet them at their level. By assuming a client doesn’t even know the basics, you’ll be able to explain the problem as simply as possible.

By explaining things simply, you’ll be able to clearly and effectively communicate what’s going on and, hopefully, present the easiest and most cost-effective solution. Be prepared to explain why the problem occurred, and why the solution you’re using is the go-to for that specific issue.

Keep It Simple

There’s a fine line between what your client needs to know to understand and what all goes into the process. If a hot water heater is clogged with sediment, for example, they may need to know that it’s a buildup from hard water that caused the problem - especially if they seem receptive to the idea of an upsell for a softener or inline filter.

Don’t explain that letting it continue could cause a catastrophic failure of the heater - like a flood or explosion - unless you need to hammer the point home that you need to replace their hot water heater sooner rather than later. Keep it simple and don’t intentionally go to the worst-case scenario unless your client fails to see the importance of the solution offered.

Avoid Crudeness and Hyperbole

You might have a favorite analogy for how clogged pipes function versus unclogged pipes, but it might not be fit to repeat in front of your client. If you wouldn’t say it to your grandmother or your 5-year old daughter, don’t say it to your client. Avoid crudeness when making analogies to explain why a problem has occurred, even if it illustrates the point. You can probably come up with a creative analogy that doesn’t involve being crass to get the point across.

Similarly, avoid hyperbole when explaining the potential outcome of a problem. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that a client’s drain line will actually explode - instead, explain that leaving the clog untended can cause it to leak, crack or burst from the pressure.

Talking to Your Clients in Layman's Terms

While layman's terms might not adequately convey every technical detail of a problem your client is having, you can communicate much more effectively by talking to the client on their level. Assume no prior knowledge of plumbing - but be prepared to raise or lower the bar as you speak.

Avoid crudeness and hyperbole and keep the details of what’s going on - and what you need to do to fix it - to a need-to-know basis. Doing this will help you effectively communicate the problem and avoid causing your client to panic because they think their fittings and fixtures might literally explode, or because they think the problem is more monumental (and thus costly) than it is.

How do you calm a panicked client?

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Old 10-19-2019, 06:03 PM   #2
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so you want us to sweet talk customers and down play repairs so they shop around for best price or question the price of the job because we down played the problem??
I dont think so..whoever comes up with these plumbing zone narratives has something tobe desired..do they really work in the field or just write books of BS?
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Old 10-19-2019, 06:33 PM   #3
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I'm Sure it's not a plumber writing these articles. It's supposed to be a forum for professional plumbers yet it seems like these articles every time are written almost more for diy and homeowners in hopes to get views. I have yet to see one here that was worth the time it took to read it.

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Old 10-19-2019, 08:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ShtRnsdownhill View Post
so you want us to sweet talk customers and down play repairs so they shop around for best price or question the price of the job because we down played the problem??
I dont think so..whoever comes up with these plumbing zone narratives has something tobe desired..do they really work in the field or just write books of BS?
He's not saying that at all. It is actually a very good article, although obviously not written by a plumber, the use of the term hot water heater being a give away. Even so, the message is spot on, and it applies whether you're a plumber or a candle stick maker. I've seen what he is talking about dozens of times. It is one of my pet peeves, and the reason why I usually hate working with many other guys.

I have never considered myself the brightest bulb on the tree, but if nothing else I learn from my mistakes. If a dumbass like me can get it, I don't see why most other guys don't. I learned long ago in my youth that when things are put a certain way it can set people off, and other ways tend to not give them ammunition to flip out with.

I have been working with another guy on a few jobs recently, and he's had more customers flip out on him in a week than I get in 2 months. When I',m not the primary on the job I tend to keep my mouth shut and not interact much with the customer, because that is what I expect others to do on my jobs, but several times I've had to jump in and explain something to a customer in terms she could understand, to help prevent frustration that I could see building.

It's not rocket surgery, but I hate when guys do that. I hate it when others do it to me when I'm dealing in a subject that I know little about, and I am quick to tell them. Some, many, guys do it customers because they are insecure and not knowledgeable in many other aspects of life, so it is an attempt to feel superior. Boy do I hate that. One example is using the terms hose bib or sillcock. 99% of customers don't know what the eff those mean. Like the article suggested, that ignorance leads to fear that this mysterious fixture is more important and expensive than it really is. Most customers know it as an outdoor faucet or a hose faucet, so that is what I use. I don't believe in dumbing down anything, and that isn't, but like the article says, it helps to prevent some anxiety. Anxiety which in some cases can manifest in a customer with a bad attitude. I like to minimize my problems, not do things that can potentially add to them.
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:47 PM   #5
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Would it kill you to use pictures from this continent? I know that like two guys on here are from another country but that picture just looks stupid. Also, why did they reduce on that bend? Clearly this is either staged by someone who doesn't know or just done improperly.












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Old 10-19-2019, 08:50 PM   #6
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How do you calm a panicked client?



Ridgid E18
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:55 PM   #7
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On second glance the picture does look legit. The valves appear to have integrated meter unions and I think those are double checks on either side of the meter. I just can't figure out if that's a black iron 90 or what on what seems like the outgoing side. I am guessing germany because it's viega fostapex.










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Old 10-19-2019, 08:58 PM   #8
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Ridgid E18
Well that'll work too.

And what I wouldn't give to use it at least once.
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:10 PM   #9
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obviously not written by a plumber, the use of the term hot water heater being a give away.



Myself and many other plumbers around here say hot water heater.




Quote:
Originally Posted by goeswiththeflow View Post
It's not rocket surgery, but I hate when guys do that. I hate it when others do it to me when I'm dealing in a subject that I know little about, and I am quick to tell them. Some, many, guys do it customers because they are insecure and not knowledgeable in many other aspects of life, so it is an attempt to feel superior. Boy do I hate that. One example is using the terms hose bib or sillcock. 99% of customers don't know what the eff those mean. Like the article suggested, that ignorance leads to fear that this mysterious fixture is more important and expensive than it really is. Most customers know it as an outdoor faucet or a hose faucet, so that is what I use. I don't believe in dumbing down anything, and that isn't, but like the article says, it helps to prevent some anxiety. Anxiety which in some cases can manifest in a customer with a bad attitude. I like to minimize my problems, not do things that can potentially add to them.




I can not stand when anyone makes something sound more complicated than it is especially when they do it to razzle dazzle and swindle or to seem more knowledgeable.


But what really grinds my gears even more is when someone says they could never understand something. Usually it stems from laziness and not wanting to have to deal with it. Other times it is older women who grew up in a time when "Men do that sort of thing" was prevalent.


I straight out tell them, it's very simple and you can understand, and I show that I am offended. For one, don't try to wriggle out of dealing with a problem by feigning ignorance. Two, don't ever insinuate that a "female" couldn't possibly operate on the same intelligence level as men. I have too many woman friends whose intelligence is extremely high to let them be insulted like that. Not to mention my wife and daughter are females too! I can't stand bigoted Jacka$$e$.



I say garden hose spigot most of the time at the beginning of the conversation and then work in the proper terms. We mostly install "frost-free" hosebibbs but occasionally a customer will ask for a sill cock or simple spigot. Every once in a blue moon we do a yard or wall hydrant for a residence as well.












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Old 10-19-2019, 09:12 PM   #10
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..... obviously not written by a plumber, the use of the term hot water heater being a give away.

Whip out the 24"!!! She's a HOT one!!!
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