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The benefits of producing user-friendly customer communications

Customer communication documents such as bills, letters, forms and statements are a necessary part of any service relationship. However, despite the importance of this type of documentation, many businesses make little or no considerations in regards to design and usability.

Poorly designed customer communication documents are not only an irritation for your customers, they can also have a detrimental effect on other areas of a business, such as brand reputation, response times, and even print and postage costs.

In contrast, well designed customer documentation has many potential, often overlooked benefits, including:

Response times

Bills and such like will be seen by the vast majority of your customers as a necessary evil, so put yourself in your customers shoes for a moment – would you be more inclined to fill out and return an application form which is lengthy and confusing, or an easy to digest form which presents all the facts up front, in one easy to read summary? It’s a no-brainer.

Likewise, bills which use clear layouts, plain language and upfront summaries result in quicker payments, a reduction in customer queries and an altogether better user experience.

Enforce your brand

Bills, letters, forms and statements are all a common part of any service relationship. These documents should be designed to reflect every element of your brand, from the colours you use, to consistent logos and imagery, and even the the tone of language.

By designing these documents with your brand in mind, you have a good opportunity to build your customers’ perceptions of your brand, and further enforce your business values.

Be heard

We live in a world in which we’re bombarded with information every day – via print, email, text message, social media, online advertising, etc. Getting your message heard in amongst this noise isn’t easy, which is why it’s so important to design your documents in a way which gets your message through. Well designed information which cuts through the everyday noise, offers real sales and marketing potential for your business.

Efficiency and cost savings

Well designed documentation can save you time and money, in terms of production costs (print and paper), and time, through fewer processing errors and queries from recipients.

Documents designed with production economies in mind, through efficient use of copy, check-boxes, background colours, etc. result in reduced print quantities, fewer follow up letters, and fewer processing errors.

To give you some perspective, it’s estimated that the cost of designing and producing forms, for example, is less than 1% of the cost of administering them when they are returned!

Bills and letters typically have straightforward response requirements, therefore it’s relatively simple to measure the impact of improved design. With a bill, for example, the speed in which it is paid, or the volume of calls it generates, can be compared against that of old designs. For more precise analysis, live tests can be sent to focus groups for comparison with concurrent samples.

Acting on the points mentioned within this post could save your business time and money, so isn’t time you reviewed your customer communications?

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