Who can blame us for trying to simplify, organize and take short cuts? No takers….just as I thought.

But what if your drive to simplify for yourself and your close colleagues leads to confusion on the part of others, some of whom may be your customers? Not so good.

When I was shopping for appliances – washer/dryer and a dishwasher, I went to a locally owned appliance company. This family-owned company is a client of my husband (a Financial Planner) and I was pre-disposed to do business with them. Here’s what happened.

I went to their store, looked around and had a few questions that were essentially about comparing models to one another. The “sales representative” kept referring to them by some obscure code that only a soothsayer could decipher. I asked him to please refer to them in a way that would make sense to me. He said “sorry, that’s how we categorize them, by product code.”

If you expect your customers to adapt to your processes and language in order to get what they need and want, you are seriously undermining your business. Here’s what will happen far more than you know –

1. The customer feels alienated – perhaps they know why, likely not.

2. This sense of discomfort creates distance between you and them.

3. The likelihood that they do business with you is reduced.

4. Your top line is lower and your bottom-line is reduced but you don’t know why, or perhaps you don’t notice because you can’t imagine what it could be.

5. You spend more money on advertising.

Here’s what you must do –

1. Banish jargon and acronyms

2. Listen to the way your customer describes their needs and adopt their phrases – “I need to be able to do ______ faster.” Say it back to them!

3. Connect your product or service to their need, their want – tangible and intangible

4. Take more money to the bank, spend less to attract new customers and keep those you have.