Customer Experience: Using Jargon Requires Huge Leap of Faith
by Kate Nasser |
Asking customers to jump through hoops to buy or use our products and services is a risky strategy for super customer experience. Even people who want to buy status want it to be easy for them to obtain and definitely to use.
Using jargon with customers is one way we ask them to jump through hoops. It is hardly easy or enjoyable for them. It has no allure or magnetic pull for repeat business or loyalty.
In fact using jargon requires a huge leap of faith from the customer to trust that we care about them at all. It is a customer experience disaster as it withholds from the customer the two things they need to resolve their issue or to make a purchasing decision — clear answers and care for their needs.
Most everyone agrees that jargon is an obstacle to super customer experience. It’s like broadcasting Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky poem as you greet a world of potential customers:
Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves
Did gyre and gymble in ye wabe:
All mimsy were ye borogoves;
And ye mome raths outgrabe.
Yet I witness this jargon blunder everywhere! Two short stories illustrate Jabberwocky of words and purpose.
Story: Ready to Buy, Whoops Good Bye!
My accounting software is very old and hard to run on new computers. I decided to bite the change resistance bullet and buy the popular Quickbooks. Converting to it and setting it up is a bigger challenge than I anticipated. I found a certified local expert in an online directory that emphasized her great teaching ability. I called, ready to buy her services and get this project done.
As she spouted out her accounting version of the Jabberwocky poem, I asked her several times to no avail, “what do you mean?” She was clearly knowledgeable yet not clear to me. Her repeated lapse into jargon made me wonder if she cared about my business success at all. She withheld the two things I needed – care and clarity.
Corrective Step: Try your typical response on a relative or friend whose not a specialist like you. If they don’t understand it, explain it until they do. Then use that approach with customers.
Story: Listening All the Way to Jabberwocky
As I narrowed my search for a contractor to replace the windows in our home, I spoke with one that my neighbor used and highly recommended. He explained the process, the technical terms, and displayed a good commitment to customer service.
Then it happened. When I asked if I could get the windows without “Low E” (a feature that makes them super energy efficient yet gives the windows a greyish hue), he replied, “Well that defeats the whole purpose of replacing the windows.” Oh really, I replied? Is that my purpose?
He look stunned. After I explained my purpose for replacing the windows and for requesting no Low E, he apologized for not listening for my purpose and needs.
Oddly enough, this contractor didn’t speak with Jabberwocky — he listened with it. His assumptions scrambled what he heard and killed the clarity of his response to me. By the way, he asked me to ping him if he slipped into listening Jabberwocky again. (Nice touch!)
Corrective Step: Clarify assumptions to deliver a super customer experience.
Our assumptions, jargon, and scripted approach widen the gap between us and the customers. If the gap is great, the customers don’t have the trust needed to work with us or buy from us.
As we ask for this leap of faith through our jargon, the customer may well leap to another company with the hope of finding someone who connects, cares, and delivers.
Close the gap with clarity and care. Otherwise, the sequel to today’s bad customer experience becomes the prequel to tomorrow’s lost sale.
What is your team’s Jabberwocky? Acronyms? Abbreviations? New meanings to old words? How will you all fix it?
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
Customer Experience: Harmony Builds Trust
©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer experience. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.