Speaking Jargon to your Clients Could be Sabotage

Michele Warg
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Building teamwork in your company is an important part of customer service. The more connected your reps feel, the better the overall culture of your business. Company culture is filled with various practices, such as jargon. Acronyms, abbreviations, shorter names for parts and products are all a part of the culture.

The employees know what the jargon means, but customers don’t. In fact, using jargon during customer service duties is one of the biggest ways to drive people off for good and to prevent new customers from closing the deal.

Potential customers are likely those who don't know much about your company or brand. They need you and your customer service representatives to give it to them straight. If employees are speaking in company jargon, the customers get lost and quickly feel that they have no idea what’s being discussed. Customers may know everything there is to know about the product, but the confusing terms make them feel as if they don’t.

Confusion and the feeling of being left in the dark created from using jargon makes customers feel as if they can’t trust what is happening, which in turn can make them feel that they can’t trust your product. When this occurs, they go elsewhere. Some customers ask what a certain acronym means and how it’s useful, but many won’t.

Train your customer service representatives to know that when they speak with a customer, it is the same as being on-stage. In person or on the phone, jargon, slang, acronyms and other company terms can be a turnoff, especially for agitated customers. These customers want to hear simple language they can understand. When your employees confuse them with jargon, they just might go off the rails.

The best way to help an agitated customer is to spend more time listening than talking. If your customer service professionals need to get a team lead to handle the situation, instruct them to say "team lead" instead of "TL." When they speak to each other, whether the customer is angry or happy, instruct them to remember that customers can hear what they are saying and can mistake their jargon for some sort of code. If that happens, they might offend them.

Even when dealing with long-term customers, things can get a little dicey if they aren't in the know about the company culture and how some words are shortened to help speed up the communication process. While speaking in these shorter terms can help employees feel as if they are all a part of a team, it really rubs even your most loyal customers the wrong way.

Allow employees to speak freely when they are talking with each other, but ask them to use the actual terms to customers to help them feel comfortable. The more your customers can relate to your customer service professionals, the more apt they are to make the purchase, extend a contract or to tell their friends about your company.


Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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