The hidden magic of plain language templates
We often think that plain language is all about the reader, but it actually saves companies just as much time and energy. And the simplest way to access those benefits is with a once-off investment in plain language templates.
These sophisticated communication tools do a lot more than simply arrange fonts and logos. More importantly, they help companies to save time writing, reading and responding to customer queries.
Draft faster and read less
Think about how long staff and executives spend reading and writing documents in your company.
If they’re using a template, they’ll likely be following a traditional writing pattern. This starts with the background of a situation, and then traces each step of the process before concluding with the analysis. This structure produces documents that are longer than they need to be.
For example, the CEO of a water utility told us she is losing 1 weekend a month to reading board papers written in this traditional style. And we don’t even want to imagine how long it was taking her staff to write all those papers!
Plain language templates turn the process-focused structure on its head. Through headings and built-in instructions, they prompt users to bring the key points to the front and minimise the time spent on less important material. They also help users to access our free Australian Style Guide.
In our template development work, we find that this often reduces the length of documents by around 40% – a massive time saving for both writer and reader.
Reduce customer service work
Plain language templates can also save time for your customer service team. Clearer, more reader-focused documents create 2 results:
- customers understand what you say the first time, so they don’t have to get in touch to query your message
- customers are persuaded that your response is reasonable, even if it isn’t what they wanted, so they are less likely to complain.
For example, a state revenue office that issues and chases up fines used our letter templates to write to the public. They found that the number of calls to their contact centre dropped by 50% after the first month.
Consider how much time your team spends dealing with customer queries or complaints, and how much time and money you would save by reducing it by 50%.
Get it right the first time
So how do you improve your templates to deliver these benefits?
The first step is to identify which templates would be most effective to upgrade. Consider the elements we’ve touched on already. For example, which documents:
- take the most time to write and review
- cause most executive or customer dissatisfaction
- create the most follow-up work.
Next, contact us for professional advice. We can confirm your template choice and work out the most effective way to upgrade them.
Our specialist editors can then develop plain language templates that help you achieve the business benefits of great plain language communication.
We also offer training to help your organisation fully adopt any new templates and use our tried-and-tested plain language techniques.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 691 855 to find out more.