Buying and selling a house are highly emotional experiences. The stakes are high financially and in terms of one’s quality of life. What gets activated in people is a fear of the unknown.
“Congratulations, you’ve moved to the blue level,” the technician told me at my allergy doctor’s office. “Thank you, but I have no idea what that means,” said I.
Professional jargon fail! We can be so immersed in our professions that we forget that our customers aren’t, and our words lose meaning.
In this case, she explained that I rose a level—a good thing. But when we hit customers with jargon, they may not have the opportunity to ask for clarification, leaving them confused and uncertain. That jeopardizes the customer experience and can damage your relationship.
Here are three things you can do to mitigate the risks of jargon in your work:
- Be aware. Set the goal of clear, jargon-free language and enlist the entire team to wipe it out.
- Ask someone else. Ask someone not directly associated with a project to read the material and identify what is not clear before we share it with our customers.
- Test. We often release a survey to a portion of the target population and see if the returns make sense. If not, we can adjust before sending the survey out to everyone.
Have you had a jargon communication fail? I’d love to know what happened and how you fixed it.