Communication Skills: How To Write
April 4, 2012 1 Comment
We work in a communication age where we have remarkable tools that all but guarantee we can communicate with anyone at any time and at any place.
Do you remember when the promise was that these communication tools would improve our productivity so we would have the time to build valuable relationships with our customers? These deep customer relationships would also lead to long-term corporate profitability and employee satisfaction.
How is that working out?
I bet you and your teams are busier and have more pressure at work (and unfortunately frustration), than ever before… and there’s good reason.
At one end of our pressure at work problem is global competition, which is greater than ever (you and I can’t do much about global competition). At the other end of our pressure at work problem is that we have never received training on how to use the technology our employers have invested in (heavily). The result is that most of us are using writing skills we learned to write essays at school to build and manage professional relationships (you and I can easily fix this in as little as four hours).
Lets Look At Two Email Examples.
Instead of building relationships based on mutual trust, understanding and need we default to writing unnecessarily long or surgically short messages that often frustrate and confuse our reader. Also, our messages are interpreted as abrupt and (unfortunately), self-serving.
Original Email Example 1: It’s Surgically Short
Please set an appointment to bring your car in for its Spring Service. We’ll also check your air conditioner. Your cost is only $15.95.
Revised Email Example 1:
To maintain optimal fuel economy and save money on gas, please set an appointment to bring your car in for its Spring Service next week. This appointment includes an air conditioner test so that we can help you stay cool this summer. Your cost is only $15.95.
Original Email Example 2: It Lacks Important Information
Below are the orders that I need a status on. Please reply as soon as possible. I am trying to prevent the customer from cancelling.
Revised Email Example 2:
I would like your help to prevent the customer cancelling the following 5 orders.
Please confirm today if it’s possible for us to receive all 5 orders at our Galt Ave location by next Wednesday, July 13.
My mobile at 416 617 0462 if you have any questions or if I can help.
- Which manages your businesses expectations and makes the receiver feel cared for and respected?
- Which manages the receivers’ expectations and builds long-term relationships?
- Which makes the receiver want to take immediate action?
The Original Email Examples are both accurate – but they are cold and seem to be only about the reader. The Revised Email Examples are about the writer as well as taking care of and / or partnering with the reader.
To be successful you have to focus on both a micro and a macro business solution.
It’s important to know your audiences aren’t sitting around. They’re busy trying to get what they need. So when you make contact you have to show them you are looking after their best interests… every time. To do this your messages have to fill their needs first.
Macro: Your marketing and advertising messages have to be honest, up front and uniquely yours. This includes all communication to prospects, customers, suppliers, and to each other. Everyone at your company has to act as a cohesive team and support the corporate brand.
Micro: Your one-on-one conversations (with prospects, customers, suppliers, and each other), have to be honest, personalized and relevant to your readers needs. Nothing fancy – just focused on their needs.
If you clearly care for your readers needs:
- They will be impressed, do what you want and come back… and likely tell all their friends about you, your service and how happy they are.
- Your stress, frustration will decrease. Your workload and email inbox will also decrease as you become more efficient and effective writing better business email.
You can’t just say you are customer focused; you have to live up to your brand promise all the time. You have to think different and act different to be different.
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