Writing Tips: How not to write

fiona

Customer calling – is anybody listening?

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I tried a new way of getting help from my energy supplier this week, but ran into familiar hassles. I wanted to move from a standard tariff to a fixed tariff. Not so difficult, surely? I thought I’d try having a webchat. I found it a touch irritating that every other sentence was answered with […]

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rupert morris writer

The truth about complaint handling

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Can energy companies really improve their complaint handling? Currently, customers typically have to contact their supplier six times before their issue can be resolved. With Ofgem breathing down their necks, Energy UK, which represents the industry, insists: “Handling complaints well is a must. Suppliers are committed to improving and a programme of change is under […]

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Pathetic puns

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So some writers love puns. They think it’s clever to make a sneaky little play on words for their readers to appreciate. There is a good example with the new ‘Walkie Talkie’ skyscraper in London. It was in the news over the summer for acting as a giant parabolic mirror and focusing the sun’s rays […]

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Lack of clarity masks incompetence

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I’ve just had a most revealing exchange with my electricity company. They wrote asking me to read my own meter. In the block of flats where I live, this meant I would have to arrange for the managing agent to let me in to a locked room. One sentence in the company’s letter puzzled me. […]

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The language of procurement

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What is it with procurement? It’s an art, or a science, that aims to keep costs down and profit margins healthy. It smoothes relationships between buyers and suppliers which, in turn, keep the show on the road – whether you’re building bridges, packaging food or running the country. Buying the best at keen prices, keeping […]

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Phone + tablet = ?

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If you love using your tablet, but you wish it were a phone too, you are probably the target market for the latest addition to the mobile device family: the phablet. Yes, we have smartphones, and large tablets and mini tablets, so it was only a matter of time before someone developed the obvious portmanteau […]

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Abbreviations can make things longer

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Everything Everywhere is the name for the joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile, but that’s about to change. It’s going to become EE, following other companies in ditching words in favour of letters. PricewaterhouseCoopers would rather you thought of it as PwC and Marks & Spencer is slowly moving to become M&S. Even BT hasn’t […]

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What does “unticketed” mean to you?

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Quite a few people turned up at Lord’s cricket ground today hoping to see the early rounds of the Olympic archery competition. The event had been described as “unticketed” and they assumed that meant they didn’t need a ticket to get in. Apparently not. There were no tickets for the event because there were to […]

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Get to the point

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I received a letter through my door last week. It was from Royal Mail, so you might have hoped they’d know a bit about letters. No such luck. Here it is. See if you can work out what it’s about. “Dear Customer Important information about changes to Royal Mail services in your area I am […]

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Sentences can be too simple

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When we run training courses, we often say that sentences should be short and simple. As a rule, short, simple sentences are easier to read and understand than long, complicated ones. But sometimes simplifying can make a sentence less clear. Here’s an example: “People are eating more fruit and vegetables.” It sounds simple enough, but […]

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