“Oh my God, my posts aren’t showing!” said the desktop notification from gmail. “Can you help? I’m available right now!”

“Don’t worry, my wonderful client,” I thought, “I’ll just drop everything, throw on my cape and solve this problem that is affecting exactly three people in the world on your staging server”.

I quickly pointed my browser to myclientswebsite.com/blog and confirmed that, indeed, she was wrong about her posts not showing. They were there clear as day.

“Clear your cache.”

“Now click refresh.”

“Try a different browser.”

“Plug your damn computer in!”

Nothing at all was working. My plans for spending the evening eating dinner with my family were about to be foiled. Then came the big reveal…

“See, I just updated the Facebook page with a picture of my daughter and it’s still not showing,” she said.

….

“Baby, set the table. Papa’s coming home for dinner.”

My client was, of course, talking about the posts she was making to her Facebook page – NOT her WordPress posts. Since we had only stuck a static screenshot into the staging server to represent what her Facebook feed WOULD look like once she approved the design.

And to take it even further, shouldn’t we also spare our clients the pain of telling us how to replicate some weird bug they found?

I argue that this type of communication problem exists between WordPress professionals and their clients every day. I’m sure you have examples too, where you just feel like there is no way you can get through to the person on the other end of the phone that’s paying your mortgage.

But, we’re a solutions kind of place here at Webatix, so let’s explore the few ways I could have avoided this 35 minute phone call:

  1. Not answer the phone.
  2. Ask her the URL of the page she was looking at. (The Facebook feed was on the home page, not the blog, at her insistence).
  3. Ask her for a screenshot.

Let’s break it down:

  • Option 1 is not an option if you want happy clients and the wonderful referrals that follow.
  • Option 2 is a good one and one I could have probably used it.
  • Option 3 is always a challenge with clients who say things like “The thingy above that picture I gave you from last summer that you put next to the content thing on my web page”.

So what do we do when we don’t hit that silver bullet solution like option 2 above. It’s easy to get frustrated with low-tech clients that don’t really speak our language. But it’s also OUR job to bridge that gap.

And that’s one of the reasons we built WPinline. To help us bridge the communication gap between you and your clients (or your team members for that matter.)

How does it do that? Well, it’s a technology layer over the old adage: “Show don’t tell.” If this client could show us what she was talking about, it would have been a one-minute conversation (in most cases). But not every client can download, install and operate a screenshot tool.

However, just about every client CAN point, click and type SOMEthing at least. Shouldn’t we provide them with a tool that is that simple for them to use to provide feedback?

And to take it even further, shouldn’t we also spare our clients the pain of telling us how to replicate some weird bug they found?

These were two of the biggest considerations we originally had when we realized how much we needed WP:inline for our own projects.

We solved them this way:

  1. First, it’s dead simple to provide feedback on any WP site with WP:inline. Your client can just go to their web site, click the WP:inline button, drag the highlighter to circle something, then type a comment. That’s it. No screenshots, no trying to explain what they are seeing. Visual feedback that any client can use.
  2. Second, we follow them around the site, so you don’t have to ask for replication instructions. We show you their click trail leading up to the report (along with their OS, Browser details, active and inactive plugins, logged in state and a bunch more) so you don’t have to ask them about it.

That alone will save you hours on nearly any client project. However, there’s more, that we’ll of course cover under a different post.

For now, do yourself and your clients a favor and get WP:inline installed on the site you are building for them, or signup here if you have not yet.

 

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