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Cut out industry jargon to build up customer trust

Recent research on how householders choose tradespeople show that those who unsparingly use trade jargon can engender a feeling of distrust in bewildered householders.

Secondly, there is clearly a logo-overload in our sector, which is damaging and confusing. ‘Frustrated’, ‘alarmed’ and ‘angry’ are just some of the words the respondents have used to describe how tradespeople make them feel when they indulge in jargon.

Around 93 per cent of homeowners admit they never understand what tradespeople are talking about and 90 per cent reveal they have been left feeling utterly bewildered.

The survey of 3,000 homeowners, conducted by One Poll, also revealed that 30 per cent of those polled are convinced that they are deliberately misled by tradespeople using tricky terms on purpose.

Letting somebody into your home is an act of trust and when something needs work doing to it, tackling it can be very daunting. Often homeowners can be in a vulnerable position.

Conversely, the expectations in today’s consumer-driven society are such that tradespeople can be caught out and find themselves the subject of complaints, even if the work is technically up to standard.

For instance, a householder may expect to find their property as pristine and as clean as it was before any work was started after the job is completed.

Without contracts and making specific agreements, this leaves room for conflict and confusion. Trust is eroded and, sometimes unfairly, a company’s name is tarnished.

This aspect of our research has highlighted the need for all contractors to manage expectations and speak their customer’s language.
We have tried to help by devising a simple jargon buster on our website. There is also a draft contract available for download by contractors and householders.

Our research has also highlighted that there are too many logos across the sector. The jungle of badges is frustrating for both the householder and our industry.

When the automotive industry lobbies government it does so through the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
It’s powerful because it is united and agrees on common ground. Perhaps our industry should learn from this and begin to punch at, if not above, our true weight?

Emma McCarthy is chief operating officer for NICEIC