A company's daily noticeboard
Integration for poldermen
We’re all familiar with them. The kind of business letter that starts with your name spelled incorrectly. Or a letter from your local council, trying to explain in incomprehensible official terms that the council tax is about to be increased again. Or a direct mail in which your bank informs you about an ‘essential’ new financial product, while making two colossal spelling errors.
These are all letters written with the intention of communicating information as clearly and correctly as possible. But they often have the opposite effect.
In most cases, it is the outside world that has to alert a company to the fact that its written communication is below par. Just over a year ago, we were contacted by a large commercial service provider whose written communication to business associates had scored poorly in satisfaction surveys. Although there had always been a nagging awareness that there was much room for improvement, the need for a language and writing course was not truly felt until these results became known. It brought home the realisation that written communication is a company’s daily noticeboard, and therefore a crucial factor in its image.
We have now been giving our training courses at that company for three quarters of a year. Many of the course participants are employees who have to write letters on a daily basis in order to handle complaints from customers, respond to queries, and inform customers about new or changed types of service.
There is also a separate group of participants consisting of field staff: specialists, many of whom have over 25 years of experience in the business and therefore possess a wealth of expertise. Expertise which is kept up to date on a regular basis by means of all manner of refresher courses. Language skills, however, are a somewhat different matter. Many of these employees have had no language tuition since they left school, so at first they don’t take it very seriously. ‘Is this the integration course?’ is the most frequently heard question. But during the course of the day they come around full circle, and afterwards, during the evaluation, they regularly refer to it as ‘a highly useful day’ and ‘something that should ideally be repeated every couple of years’.
So now you know – TechText are the people to contact, also when it comes to integration!