Do you re-read your business emails?
Do you get a colleague to run through a draft report you’ve written?
As the CEO of a professional English editing company, I’ve built my business on the premise that what we write has a huge impact on our personal or company brand image. What we say evaporates into the ether, but what we write can be there – well, forever. Scary, n’est-ce-pas?
Here are the stories of three clients who impressed me hugely. Each one demonstrated they understood to what extent words have an impact on a professional or company image.
Topping the list is an Asian client from a large global IT company. He used our service to edit training materials. There was a vast amount of course material divided into modules with – and this is the striking part – hypothetical hallway conversations at the end of each module. Our trainer had written out imaginary exchanges with his colleagues because he wanted to be in a position to give a clear, correct response in English. How’s that for impact?
My second story concerns the Eastern European developers of the number one drag racing app. They sent us a mammoth task – over 22k words. We were asked to edit (what felt like) every single email they had ever sent to their clients! Why? Because they care about their hundred million app users enough to want to create a database of responses that would be easily understood by clients around the world. That’s what I call investing in customer services.
Story number three belongs to a mature female Korean student who needed to defer her place at a US university due to breast cancer treatment. She opted for our 24-hour express service and we became the middle man in email negotiations that unfurled over several days. She would send us her draft emails to the admissions officer; we would edit them overnight and then await the university’s response the following afternoon. Afterwards she wrote a message to the editor who helped her craft her responses: “I would like to express my appreciation for your help. And I want to let you know the positive outcome. Without your help, I might present myself in the wrong way.”
Each client must have assessed their return on investment. The trainer wanted to be able to hand out course materials in perfect English and ensure that he came across professionally with his colleagues. He was investing in his future in the company.
The app developers wanted to reduce misunderstanding and guarantee they could send a professional response to their users. Their investment will probably save them both time and money, not to mention keeping their clients happy.
Our mature student knew she wanted to defer rather than re-apply, thereby keeping her place and bypassing the extra expense of re-applying and possibly having to re-sit certain entrance exams. To her it was also about using the right tone of voice to present her case, thereby investing in her image with the school.
Next time you’re about to publish an article, send a report or simply respond to a client, stop for a second and assess what you’re really investing in with your words.
Give me more!
Don’t believe poorly written words can have consequences?
If you’ve already sent an angry email to your boss or colleague, don’t fret!