A man of letters

untitled-1We’ve been re-writing a lot of the standard letters we send to customers recently. Finding the right tone is vital when you’re talking to customers, and having looked through all our old templates I’ve come up with a list of phrases I really don’t like:

Kindly… 
As in “kindly do this.” People use kindly when they need to tell customers to do something and they don’t want to sound rude. But nobody says “kindly” when they talk. “Please” is a much better option.

I’m delighted to tell you…
Customers who get a letter from a big company are never going to believe that someone who answers 30 letters a day is “delighted” to tell them something. You might get away with telling a customer you’re “pleased.” Or you could just tell them and leave your own feelings out of it.

We deeply regret…
Apologies are very difficult to write without seeming fawning or false. But a plain ‘we’re sorry” usually does the trick.

Unfortunately, I can’t…
I hate it when I get a letter saying a company are “unable to do something.” Companies can do anything if they want to, and it’s frustrating to pretend otherwise. If you’re not going to do something because it’s against company policy then say so. But don’t pretend it’s not possible.

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