Barely read the correspondence they receive

How to improve your score:

Be clear that your communications need to be read
Emphasise importance. From your initial conversations, emphasise that your communications will include important information, which may be time sensitive, so it’s vitally important that your client reads them promptly and understands the content.

Repeat regularly. If possible, re-state this prominently in all communications to your clients.

Any questions. Be clear that if your client doesn’t fully understand anything in the communication, they should ask you as soon as possible.
Easy to read
Summarise. Where possible, it’s good to summarise and provide key information upfront and then cross-reference to other documents for more detail. For example, your client report should include the key information required by your client to make a decision, including any potential consequence of inaction. It should signpost to other documents which contain detailed information, such as product key features.

Formatting. It could be the document layout or writing style is putting your client’s off reading communications. Write in a way that encourages clients to engage with the document.
- Highlighting, underlining, or making text bold can draw attention to key points.
- The use of bullet points, tables, graphs and pictures can make content easier to digest.
- Avoid large paragraphs of “block text” as these can be hard to read.
Easy to understand
 Simplify your explanations. UK adults generally have a lower level of literacy and numeracy than you may expect, so explaining in the simplest way possible will help ensure your correspondence is clear.

Avoid jargon and abbreviations.These can make content harder to read for clients  as they’ll either need to put effort into learning what the abbreviation stands for, or continually refer to a glossary of terms. 

Glossary. Where you must use technical terms, provide an explanation in easy to understand language. This will help build trust with your client and make them feel that they’ve learned something from your time together.

FAQs. Consider a frequently asked questions section on longer documents. Using questions and answers to get across information can increase client understanding.

Make it accessible. Vulnerable clients may have specific needs, which should be reflected in your communications. It could be that large print or braille would make a document easier for them to read, or perhaps an audio recording or video is a better “durable medium” for your advice than a written report.
Appropriate and timely
Relevant. Keep communications and content relevant to your client and proposed solution. Including irrelevant content can be confusing and seen as a barrier to empowering your client to act.

Timely. If you’re wanting to re-enforce a concept from a meeting, send the communication shortly afterwards so the concept is still fresh in your client’s mind. If there is a key decision point or event in your client’s life, send communications in plenty of time to allow them to act, but not so far in advance as they’ve forgotten about it by the time the event occurs.

Communication channel.  Think about the best form of communication to get the message across in the timeliest way. A message via a client portal or text message is much quicker and easier as a reminder or to convey a simple message. For a complex concept or where you need to convey a large amount of information, an email or letter is more appropriate than a text message.
Ask for feedback
Ask for feedback from your clients on the frequency and content of communications. This is useful for three reasons:
- You’re giving your client the opportunity to contact you, so if they have an issue, this is the perfect excuse for them to get in touch.
- You’re also providing an opportunity for your client to tell you that they’ve not read, or even received, your communication.
- If they have read your communication, you can then use their feedback to adjust future communications to make them more engaging, timelier and improve readability.

Clear communications are an excellent way of stopping misunderstandings, empowering your client to make decisions and increasing client advocacy. It’s well worth putting the time into reviewing and improving your communications to make them as clear as possible.

If your client isn’t reading the communications you send them, they won’t have the information they need to make informed decisions. They could also miss time sensitive actions or information which would have caused them to change a decision, impacting the likelihood of them achieving their goals. Either way, there’s a potential for bad outcomes, so make sure your client is reading what you send them, and spend time reviewing and improving your communications to make them as clear as possible.

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