Like any line of work, the software and accounting industries use lots of jargon and in particular acronyms. We love the TLA. TLA is a three letter acronym for “Three Letter Acronym”. But humor aside, how many people outside of the accounting industry knows that GAAP is not a mis-spelling? It stands for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and not a place to buy jeans.
All industries have abbreviations, acronyms and slang terms specific to their business. It’s an insider language that bonds people together with a shared nomenclature. I have been in many a design meetings where people sound like they are reading from a bowl of alphabet soup!
While the use of TLA's can contribute to employee engagement and make our internal communication efficient we should be careful in the use of jargon and acronyms with clients. Not all clients have the same education and professional experience that you may have. They are certainly not going to care as much for chart design as you do.
What is important in creating great software is the same in creating a great client experience. It is critical to use plain and descriptive language. Information should always be framed from the client’s point of view. While your opinion is interesting, it is irrelevant! What counts is delivering information in a way that your clients can easily digest. More is not always better, and providing too much information may actually overwhelm your clients versus assuring them you are doing a great job.
Sometimes it may take an outsider to help you gain perspective. Ask someone that is not associated with your firm to take a look at your website. Can they easily tell you the elevator pitch for your business? Seek feedback from your clients on how you deliver your firm’s services and what improvements you would make. This could be as formal as a client advisory board or as informal as an occasional lunch.
You handle important and complex matters for your clients and sometimes technical terms cannot be avoided, but being self- aware of the language we use can go a long way in providing a better experience.