The faucet is leaking

I had another one there. Such a letter of confirmation from a service I took. In corporate terminology, I would call it a process letter - one that the system defecates of its own accord because a customer has ordered, changed or cancelled something.

Of course, it is important that these letters come out automated. Because it's not quite nowadays, that there's a room full of typists. Who type these types of letters to measure, based on every customer thing that passes by. But why are these system letters so not contemporary? So distant? And why do they use references I can't reach with my hat? Who came up with them? K-532-Zleven. Or 54352-trxxx. It must have something to do with my customer number, address or date of birth. Or is it a system as complicated and ingenious as car license plates? Someone made up a series, it ran out, so a new series was introduced. Something like that.

But I'm wandering off. I myself have been responsible for customer communication. I know how difficult it is to change these process letters. It's just a huge fucking job. A job that nobody really wants to burn their fingers on. Because it involves quite a bit. 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 which words should you use? Words the customer should be able to understand. B1, Jip and Janneke. Oh, well, choices, choices...

Really, no one is eager to do this job in the area of customer communication. And yet... if the faucet leaks, you have to make it (or have it made) and then mop it up. That's where I want to make my point. About that mop. That goes best when the crane is repaired. Otherwise it becomes such a mess. So from today on there will only be letters and e-mails that bring the right message to the right recipient, in the right language and at the right time. And then what? Then it's time to start mopping up: you're going to tackle the process communication. That mega project. Pull out two years for that. At least, I'd say.

The nastiest thing is that you don't get many honourable mentions for this. Because as soon as you're done, the first letter is already outdated. Or does it 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 13 November 2019.

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