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Don't Speak to Me In Acronyms, Please

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief of Social Media Strategy at xynoMedia

Having to deal with banks and DMV is excruciating.

Every time I find myself faced with having to do business with either of these types of entities, I put myself in a positive frame of mind and expect that only good experiences will take place. Sometimes it works and other times, like today, it doesn't.

One of the things that particularly annoys me is when people who work at these types of organizations speak to you in their "lingo".

For example, at one point in my business I needed to get a business card for one of our team members for expenses and such.

Fill_out_the_form So, I went to my bank, sat down with a manager who proceeded to ask me, "Did you fill out for C8D12 yet?"

Come again?? Here's the deal: I don't know if I filled that form out or not. I *can* tell you that I filled out a form that asked for my name, the name of the person that the card is for, etc.

Why do these people at banks think you work there? How would you know the name of the form? Do most people, when filling out a form, make a note of the tiny little numbers in the bottom right-hand corner of the form? If they do, I don't!

Same thing at the DMV. "Did you complete MV-109?" Hell if I know!

After having these experiences, I started thinking, what if we *all* conducted our business this way?

How many clients would I have if my advice to my clients was contingent upon them successfully answering the following question:

"Are you running SQL version 4.1.a.3?" (There is no such version, but you get what I mean.)

I don't think people really understand how much they alienate potential and existing clients and customers with their industry- and company-specific information and inquiries.

We hear a lot about jargon, but questions about form MV-109 is more insidious in my opinion. First, they ask with the you-should-know-this-already tone and then when you don't know, they usually can't describe the form to help you out.

Everything is marketing.


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You're absolutely right. I will take your suggestion next time.

Answering their question with a question may be just the thing to set people like that on their ear!:)

Thanks for reading, commenting and suggesting!

Rick Henkin

That's crazy and so much the antithesis of good customer service and experience, that a business would speak to you in their own lingo. That's the fault of their higher-ups as well as their own lack of common sense.

On so many different levels- public speaking, content (both online and offline), and copywriting- you're taught to use the language that your audience uses. How else will they understand your message.

Next time that happens, ask these people if they prefer that their doctor use medical jargon when describing their ailment or plain simple English. It's the same difference.

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