23 Aug How to ‘PRACTICE’ Customer-centric writing
Customer centric writing
Customer centric writing is writing that enhances that customer experience and is focused on customer needs.
Do you agree with the below?
- Business writing needs to be stuffy and formal
- Using personal pronouns like ‘I’ is unprofessional
- Giving personal insights is unprofessional
- Displaying emotions and empathy is unprofessional
- Using long or technical words makes us look clever and professional
- Using ‘management speak’ phrases and cliches make us credible
Many write as if they do, at least sub-consciously, believe some of the above. Business writing is full of these characteristics and it can lead to customer frustrations and a poor client experience.
Technical words or management speak can lead to poor understanding. The absence of empathy or engagement can come across as cold or aggressive where this was not intended, and the general tone can seem guarded and defensive.
There is something about the written word that makes us stiffen up. Maybe it is the fact that the written word is permanent and therefore more risky – we can more easily be held accountable for what we write – and we therefore take a safety first approach: saying as little as possible and hiding behind policy and formal communications. It can all be very guarded and unengaging.
What are we trying to achieve?
When writing business communications, it can help to confirm our objectives: what are we trying to achieve?
Yes, we might be providing or seeking information, but we are also looking to:
- demonstrate empathy
- build rapport and trust
- meet customers’ emotional needs
- demonstrate a customer-centric attitude
- offer reassurance
- enhance understanding
- add value
We do most of the above naturally when we speak/chat, but seem to lose it when we write. The challenge is that we communicate with our body language, facial expressions and tone of voice as well as with our words. When we are on the phone, our tone of voice helps to build rapport, trust, reassurance and empathy. Face to face, our body language helps even more.
But when we write, we lose much of these valuable tone of voice and body language communication. We only have words. When faced with words, and without the tone of voice and body language to help interpret them, people fill in the blanks and make assumptions. We read disrespect and aggressiveness where it wasn’t intended. Misunderstandings grow.
So we have to make more effort in our business writing to build understanding, empathy, rapport and trust.
Try using the ‘PRACTICE’ framework below to ensure your writing is consistently customer-centric.