No longer do consumers tolerate ‘small print’ and unnecessary jargon in insurance. Increasingly, these are viewed as wilful barriers to the truth – as WMDs (Words of Mass Deception). Organisations that continue to use them risk losing the trust of their stakeholders.
Many UK companies are investing in improving their customer communications so that they are written clearly, in a way that´s aligned with Treating Customers Fairly and the Consumer Rights Act. But how do you measure if you are achieving this goal when there are no objective criteria for clear communication or plain language?
Large companies produce thousands of documents, from adverts to customer-service letters, from annual reports to supplier agreements. A company-wide plain English and Treating Customers Fairly audit allows you to identify strengths and weaknesses, and understand where to focus your efforts.
A leading investment firm uses plain English and transparency to differentiate itself from its competitors and build its reputation.
The words in your email, brochure or report may be brilliant, but if your document is not supported by good design you’ll lose your readers from the start. Here are some tips for design that’s appealing to look at and easy to read.
You been on Simplified business writing training, you loved it, and you can’t wait to get back to work and change the way you write. But it can be overwhelming to do everything at once. Together, these small steps can become a giant leap to more effective business writing. (Guest post by Simplified business writing trainer, Melissa Davidson) Read more
Plain English is when a reader can find, understand and use the information they need from a piece of communication. Plain English includes a range of elements such as the use of everyday words instead of jargon and legalese, and short, active sentences instead of long-winded passive sentences. But plain language isn’t only about words and grammar. How well a document or website is structured, how easy it is to navigate, the visual design, and the usefulness and relevance of its content all form part of plain English. Read more
Simplified has helped remarkable companies to put in place programmes that simplify communications and transform complexity into clarity ‒ all with the overall purpose of improving customer experience and treating customers fairly. Here are seven factors that predict success in clear communication in business – these apply equally well to a small plain English rewrite and an enterprise-wide clear communications programme.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has asked financial services firms to write for the consumer first rather than adopt a tick-box approach.
In a recent FCA Discussion Paper, the Financial Conduct Authority reiterates its expectation that firms:
- understand and recognise the importance of communicating effectively with consumers
- create product and service information for consumers with at least as much behaviourally informed creativity as is applied to business development, marketing and financial promotions
- create communications as an integral part of the product or service design process’
We support this move from a compliance to a customer focus, and also recognise just how difficult this process can be − both for start-ups and traditional financial services firms. We help our clients adopt long-term improvements as well as quick-wins to each of the focus areas highlighted by the Financial Services Authority:
- presentation of terms and conditions
- disclosure of fees and charges
- helping consumers direct queries to the relevant part of a firm quickly and easily
- raising consumer awareness of the Financial Ombudsman Service and the cover offered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for specific products or services
- common terminology in the general insurance sector
- complexity of information provided to consumers at retirement
- transparency around the scope and cost of an investment advice service
- Treating customers fairly
- Plain English resources
- Contact us