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View Full Version : Donít Underestimate the Power of a Car Analogy


RichmondTech
03-10-2012, 02:04 PM
Some recent interactions with customers have gotten me thinking about some of the analogies I use when describing different functions of a computer. I tend to use car analogies because while the inner workings of a computer are still new to a lot of people, everyone has experience with cars (especially driving or riding in them).

For example, when people ask about processor speeds I simply relate it as different speed limits youíd see on the roads. I donít bother getting into dual-core or quad-core or anything like that, but if you did I guess it would be like going from a 4-cylinder to a V6 or V8.

Iím able to justify memory upgrades because itís like going from two lanes on each side of the road to three. You still have the same number of cars, but it tends to be a smoother ride when you have some extra room to work with and who doesnít want that?

What analogies (car-related or not) do you use with your customers?

uprighttech
03-10-2012, 02:31 PM
I get a lot of customers who think they are safe from viruses because they have antivirus. I've started telling many of them that antivirus is a lot like a flu shot - it is a good measure to take and will provide some protection, but it does not mean you will not get the flu. If you take a flu shot and still go hang around people with the flu all day, odds are you will eventually catch it.

PCX
03-10-2012, 02:46 PM
Its funny you mention this, because we use the car analogy all the time, but not for how a computer works, but for determining if something is worth repairing.

When customers say something like "well with that price, I might as well buy a new computer" or something similar, we will say one of two things.

If you have a good vehicle that runs well but needs new brakes, do you get a new car? No, you maintain that vehicle till its no longer practical to do so.

The other things basically goes like

For that price, you will end up with a piece of crap and unless you are willing to spend a few hundred more dollars to get a decent computer, I would do the repairs.

I flip flop between the two. It really depends on who you are talking to, some times you have to do both or none at all, but these are the lines that I use most. And yes, we do use that last line quite often, and a great majority of the time (so much so I do not know when it has not worked) we get their business.

RichmondTech
03-10-2012, 03:07 PM
I get a lot of customers who think they are safe from viruses because they have antivirus. I've started telling many of them that antivirus is a lot like a flu shot - it is a good measure to take and will provide some protection, but it does not mean you will not get the flu. If you take a flu shot and still go hang around people with the flu all day, odds are you will eventually catch it.

That's a good one. I've always talked about Internet security like home security. If you have some AV program on your computer but your browser is outdated and you go to bad websites it's like locking the door but keeping the windows open. We like a good, updated Internet security program with firewall, updated web browser, safe browsing habits, and updated Adobe/Java like windows and doors locked, having a home security system, and a guard dog. :)

'putertutor
03-10-2012, 03:07 PM
I use the car and flu analogies as well, but depending on my familiarity with my customer, for av software I may use the condom analogy. Just like condoms, av software works most of the time. Fortunately when your av software doesn't work the problems it causes only last a few hours and at worst costs a few bucks.

Like I said, Ive got to have the right customer and be on very familiar terms with him (never her!)

anglian
03-10-2012, 03:46 PM
I use a car anology to explain tuneup & clean up.
The costs of a car service that everyone thinks are normal, and yet when it comes to a PC that can hold data worth more than their car they don't want to pay to keep it clean and safe.

cprompt
03-10-2012, 04:02 PM
I use a phone book to talk about the difference between RAM and Hard Drive. The phone book is like the hard drive - "permanent" storage. When you look up a phone number, you make a copy of that number in your memory. Depending on how good your memory is, you can remember 1 or 3 or 10 numbers. Most customers laugh and tell me only one number. Then I ask them what happens if they need to remember several, and they say they jot it down in a corner of a page. I explain that's a lot like how the computer works. The operating system is loaded from the hard drive to memory when it boots up. Programs are also loaded into memory. When the memory gets full, the computer writes some extra stuff on a "scrap" of the hard drive. If the hard drive is packed full, there is no room for that extra stuff and the computer works really slow.

I don't necessarily go into all those details, depending on the customer's needs, but I find they understand the analogy distinguishing hard drive and memory quite well.

tminer
03-10-2012, 05:11 PM
I have used the condom/antivirus anaolgy with some select people.

I tell them that without using an antivirus (condom) you playing with fire but just because you use on doesnt mean your 100% safe either.

TechLady
03-11-2012, 05:40 AM
I've used car analogies all the time. If a customer has a computer on its last legs and is Boomer age or older, I tell them it's a Desoto and time to get a new one. If they are younger I tell them they've got a Pinto (which I actually had, ha).

'putertutor
03-11-2012, 06:51 AM
My first car was a white Pinto hatchback! You know, the kind that had a reputation for exploding upon impact. I drove that thing straight into the ground and then some.

atlanticjim
03-11-2012, 12:48 PM
Often people will tell me how they "cleaned out a lot of files but it isn't any faster". I give the analogy of trash under the seat of the car, if they clean it out, the car will not perform any better, it'll just be cleaner. And who could see what was under the seat anyway?

My father (RIP) could not understand why just copying his Word-perfect program from his old computer to the same place in the new computer wouldn't work. I used this analogy "If you took the radio out of your Pinto and duct-taped it to the roof of your Escort it wouldn't work, would it? It has to be installed with all the proper connections.

YeOldeStonecat
03-11-2012, 07:47 PM
I use the "Ford F-350 heavy duty pickup truck" analogy for business grade computers/laptops....to separate from the cheaper 1 year and home grade models.

glricht
03-11-2012, 09:56 PM
My father (RIP) could not understand why just copying his Word-perfect program from his old computer to the same place in the new computer wouldn't work. I used this analogy "If you took the radio out of your Pinto and duct-taped it to the roof of your Escort it wouldn't work, would it? It has to be installed with all the proper connections.

Very nice analogy about why you can't copy programs.

I often use an analogy about a car's fan belt when replying to questions about a failing or dead hard drive. "Sometimes when a fan is going bad, it lets you know by the squealing, just like a HD will sometimes slow down prior to failing. However, other times the fan belt will simply break, just like a HD -- and often at the most inconvenient time. (Is there really a convenient time for it to break?)"