Business Writing

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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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February 08, 2010

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Jason Sherrill

We work with banks and credit unions, both large and small, all over the United States to develop software ranging from online banking systems to email marketing platforms. Given the amount of personal data that most banks collect about each customer, as well as the ease of mining that data to personalize communications, there really is no excuse for generic form letters today.

I received a letter last week from a large national bank with whom I've done business for 15 years. The letter had a "Dear Customer:" greeting, when just three lines above was my full name and address.

As someone who develops software to enable greater personalization and more finely targeted permission-based marketing interactions, I was dismayed to see this bank, with all of its resources, still using such a poor communication practice that did nothing more than make me feel unimportant to the bank.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Jason, thanks for your expert opinion.

"Dear Customer" is everywhere--except on bills and invoices. On those, they always know our names.

Lynn

Jason Sherrill

Lynn, you are absolutely correct. Every time I see generic greetings, name misspellings or name transpositions, they remind me of this Dale Carnegie quote:

"Remember that a man's name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language."

Nothing makes me feel less important to someone with whom I do business than seeing my name misspelled or replaced with a generic noun.

Jason

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Jason. I agree with you and Mr. Carnegie. I would update his quote slightly by changing "man's" to "person's" and expanding to "his or her."

Thanks for the good reminder.

Lynn

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We work with banks and credit unions, both large and small, all over the United States to develop software ranging from online banking systems to email marketing platforms. Given the amount of personal data that most banks collect about each customer, as well as the ease of mining that data to personalize communications, there really is no excuse for generic form letters today.

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