The faucet leaks

There I had another one. Such a confirmation letter from a service I purchased. In corporate terminology, I would call this a process letter – one of those letters that the system poops out on its own, because a customer has ordered, changed or cancelled something.

Of course, it is important that these letters come out automatically. Because it is no longer quite of today, that there is a room full of typists. Who type these kinds of letters on a custom basis, based on every customer thing that comes along. But why are these system letters not so contemporary? So distant? And why do they use references, which I can't access with my hat? Who came up with it? K-532-Zleven. Or 54352-trxxx. It probably has to do with my customer number, address or date of birth. Or is it a similarly complicated and ingenious system as the license plates of cars? Someone came up with a series, it ran out and so a new series was introduced. Kind of.

But I digress. I myself have been responsible for customer communication. I know how difficult it is to change these process letters. It's just a huge job. It's the kind of job that no one really wants to burn their fingers on. Because there's quite a lot involved. It starts with the question: do we use 'you' or 'you' and ends with 'which letter is sent when' and 'where does a possible answer go'? And what words should you use? Words that the customer must be able to understand. B1, Jip and Janneke. Ah, ah, choices, choices...

Really, no one is eager to do this job in terms of customer communication. And yet... If the tap leaks, you have to fix it (or have it made) and then mop. That is what I want to make my point about. About that mopping. This works best when the crane has been repaired. Otherwise, it's going to be such a mess. So that from today on, only letters and e-mails will go out that deliver the right message to the right recipient, in the right language and at the right time. And then? Then it's time to start mopping up: you're going to tackle process communication. That mega project. Just take two years to do that. Minimal, I would say.

The worst part is that you don't get many honorable mentions for this. Because as soon as you're done, the first letter is already outdated. Or does the company have a new name? Or a new tone-of-voice. Or a new logo. Or a new director. Because, well, all those letters have to have the right signature... It would make you despondent.


This blog was written for CustomerFirst and published on November 13, 2019.

Don't want to miss a blog? Sign up for my monthly CX Greetz!



Nienke Bloem is often called the Customer Experience speaker in the blue dress. 

She's a global CX thought leader, educator and a global keynote speaker who inspires audiences with best practices and proven methodologies. She leads a speaking practice, a CX game company and a training business; she breathes Customer Experiences and is author of two CX books.

Her two-day Customer Experience Masterclass is known as the best program to prepare for your CCXP and she is the go-to person for CX leaders who want to advance their leadership and bring direct results from their Customer Experience transformation programs. Since 2020, she hosts a CX Leadership Masterminds program and helps leaders spice up their leadership and deliver an engaging CX Story including a solid CX Strategy. Besides, she is a modern-day pilgrim and found the parallel with leading customer centric transformations. 

With her over 20 years of corporate experience, she speaks the business language. Her keynotes and education programs in Customer Experience are inspiring and hands-on. She is one of the few Recognized Training Partners of the CXPA and it is her mission to Make Customer Experience Work and help you deliver business results.