They’ve finally figured it out! Who are "they," you ask? Organizations of all types, big and small, public and private sector, across the globe. They’ve finally figured out that the different consumers of their content—customers, suppliers, partners, regulators, tech experts, and end users– all read at different levels and abilities.
Through sometimes painful experience, these organizations have learned that using Plain Language means clarity and ease of understanding for the reader, and that it pays off in customer satisfaction, loyalty, trust and “stickiness”!
Plain language drives a successful partnership
Consider the case of the large retailer who wished to partner with a supplier in an industry known for its dense, hard to understand documents. The retailer was concerned that the customer-facing documents supporting a new product offering weren’t up to their customer service standards.
“Too confusing!” they said when they saw what their customers would have to read (and would be asked to sign.) So before the new business partnership was launched, the supplier brought in Plain Language consultants to make their product documentation more customer-friendly. This helped make the partnership a success, and a win for consumers as well.
It’s time to recognize Plain Language as a strategic advantage
Okay, so at least some organizations get it. But I’m wondering what the rest are thinking! Why haven’t they figured out that things get bogged down when
- customers can’t understand instructions, warranty information or safety guidelines
- vendors can’t make sense of buyers’ RFPs (don’t get me started!)
- technicians can’t decipher the maintenance manuals their companies burden them with, or
- a document is so dense that no one really understands what it says without needing ‘more time to read it over’ unless they happen to have a law degree?
More and more organizations are realizing that adopting Plain Language as a writing standard is a common sense strategy that generates customer loyalty and trust. They’re recognizing that clarity is profitable and holds the promise of lower risk and higher rewards.
PLAIN’s 20th anniversary conference in Vancouver BC
On October 10-13, PLAIN (Plain Language Association International) will celebrate its 20th anniversary with an international conference being held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about Plain Language. Information Mapping will be there—we hope to see you.
Download our webinar, Writing in Plain Language: Simplifying Communications to Improve Customer Service and Performance, to see how Information Mapping helps organizations realize the benefits of Plain Language.