Tech Lingo Baffles Small Firms

Telecommunications firms would like to sell more products to small businesses but have a hard time communicating with them. That’s according to a recent survey in the U.K. conducted by the Ofcom Consumer Panel (full PDF report here):

    “The Panel interviewed owners and managers from 300 firms, each of between one and 10 employees in size, and found that most were baffled by the latest communications terminology. Just 16 percent were able to accurately say that 3G was a high-speed mobile technology, while 17 percent gave a wrong answer and 67 percent said they hadn’t heard the term.

    Wi-Fi fared even worse: just 8 percent understood that Wi-Fi was a wireless technology that provided fast Internet access at hot spots, with 7 percent giving an incorrect answer and 85 percent not able to give an answer. And awareness of voice-over-IP services was lower still, with only 3 percent defining VoIP accurately, another 3 percent giving a wrong answer, and 95 percent admitting total ignorance.”

While this study applies to the U.K., I think you would find similar results to one degree or another in most parts of the world. Industry-specific lingo is the main culprit.

And it is not just the telecommunications industry. The same goes for many other technology products, and even for many business services.

It is a continual challenge for any vendor trying to reach the small business market. How do you explain complicated technology products in layman’s terms to busy small business owners, when you are likely to get just a few minutes or perhaps just seconds of their time?

And the challenge will only grow over time, as technology usage grows and accelerates.

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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