As we mentioned in Best practices for writing to customers – Part 1, one of the most effective ways to build brand loyalty is through communications that quickly and easily help your customers get what they need, when they need it –and feel great doing it. Flowery praise isn’t enough; your messaging should reflect you as a business: highly relevant, well-organized, and in tune with the customer’s perspective.
Every communication makes an impression, whether it’s customer email, client letters, website content, direct mail, advertising or other media. If you want to effectively express your brand, it’s a good idea to consider these best practices for writing customer communications.
Here are the second five of 10 best practices to apply to your writing:
6. Be concise, friendly, and easy to understand
Include only the information that customers need to know, while keeping the tone helpful and friendly. Use short paragraphs with clear, plain language anyone could understand — avoiding industry jargon, abbreviations, most acronyms, and technical language when possible.
7. Write in the active voice
Using the “active voice” instead of the “passive voice” helps make your communications more concise, direct, and compelling to customers. In the active voice, the subject is doing the action; in the passive voice, the action is indirect or vague. For example, instead of “Additional information can be found at…” say “Find more information at…” This directness also makes sensitive communications and atonement letters seem more genuine by appearing accountable to your customers (e.g., instead of “An error was made” say “We made an error”).
8. Create a clean, easy-to-read layout
• Use headings to organize information and draw attention to important content.
• Highlight key items in lists with bullets or numbers.
• Provide adequate space between bullets and paragraphs for easier reading.
9. Include an appreciative closing
Everyone likes to be thanked. For every customer email or letter, it’s important to close with a note of appreciation to reinforce that you value their business. You don’t need to lapse into excessive prose; keeping it brief can often seem more genuine.
10. Proof-read, proof-read, proof-read
Ensure every communication looks professional with proper spelling and grammar. Consider reading your message out loud to make sure it sounds natural –it’s also a great way to catch and correct typos or errors in word choice (e.g., there vs. their), which a spell-checker might miss. Proofing your letters and email is especially important when you’re sending negative news, because a well-written message can help put customers in a more receptive frame of mind.
Applying these 10 best practices to your communications can create a big win for your customers, and for your business as well. You increase the potential for higher customer satisfaction, lower support costs, and more motivated team members. It’s all good!