Convince your boss to get rid of the jargon

Guest author, , Opinion

This guest blog post is written by Victoria Macdonald – Investment Manager and Co-Founder at Manorbridge Investment Management.

Technical language, acronyms, and jargon

Financial services such as investment management are often case studies for complex, difficult services. Within the finance sector, there is a lot of technical language, acronyms and jargon used for specific services. This language is essential to the financial services industry. But for people outside the industry, it is important to ensure you use plain English and inclusive language.

Clear content creates trust

To have successful relationships with clients, you must have trust. Trust is fostered by clear communication and transparency over time. To communicate clearly, you must:

  • use the same language as your clients,
  • understand your clients’ expectations,
  • think about how your clients’ might be feeling and respond to this.

When you can effectively communicate with understanding, clients are likely to feel heard, and ‘on the same page’. Positive relationships lead to satisfied clients.

A recent study by Vanguard found “94% of investors were likely to make a referral when they “highly trusted” their adviser”. This is obviously a beneficial outcome for developing business growth.

Using unnecessarily complicated language, jargon or acronyms is boring and unengaging. Technical and unfamiliar language can lead to a breakdown in relationships and a lack of trust. It may even isolate prospective clients.

When clients are unsure of what you mean, they are likely to question if you have their best interests in mind. They might think the ‘wool is being pulled over their eyes’. Unclear communication leads to fragile client partnerships.

The risks associated with bad content

Poor communication through the use of jargon, acronyms, or technical terminology can also result in regulatory and financial risk.

If a client is confused and alienated by jargon, they may complain for a number of reasons:

  • poor performance,
  • high charges,
  • or more commonly, a miscommunication.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is responsible for investigating and settling disputes between UK-based financial institutions and their clients.

A recent FOS article cited,

“The information a business gave about the investment product wasn’t clear or detailed enough.”

Quality content does not always mean less content

Clear communication may mean providing more concise, simple content. It’s not necessarily the volume of information provided that’s important here. It’s actually the quality. You risk not meeting client expectations if the service or offering has not been explained in accessible language.

Clear, simple and effective communication can improve client relationships, increase trust and subsequently achieve more referrals to grow your business.

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