Everyone in a large IT division knew that email problems were getting worse: abrupt, sloppy, or wordy emails were too common. Both performance and morale were affected.
“Didn’t you read my email?” was a surefire way to get a rueful laugh at meetings. “Sorry” was the honest answer. Many key emails were getting ignored, disrupting or derailing critical projects.
The solution was team training. After sampling the division’s email, we customized a half-day writing training. This workshop focused on the most up-to-date guidelines and etiquette for effective email.
After the training, at the division’s request, we analyzed the impact of the training and developed a yearly refresher workshop. In this way, key guidelines would be reinforced and participants would be updated on the latest word in email.
In a customer service department, each representative had to write an average of ten letters and thirty emails to customers each day. Many of the templates they used were out of date. Sometimes the template used did not really fit the intricate, unique problems, annoying customers.
Working on complex problems, some representatives were three months behind in responding to customers; in addition, management was concerned about the poor quality of what they sent.
This solution had three parts.
- We designed a set of well-written form letters and emails. Representatives used these templated communications to resolve repetitive customer concerns.
- We trained the representatives, giving them the writing skills they needed to efficiently respond to odd or unusual situations.
- We trained supervisors and managers to work constructively with employee writing after the initial training.
Need: Writing Gaps
A technically gifted professional was promoted to a management position. For the first time in her career, her writing gaps were exposed. Her direct reports complained that her communications were hard to read and understand. She too was struggling, sometimes taking an entire morning to produce a four-paragraph memo.
The solution was individual coaching. One of our consultants worked with this manager for five one-hour sessions, spread out over several months. She was able to develop her writing skills by building on her already-strong foundation of technical skills. The individual quickly—and permanently—learned to use writing as a powerful tool to get consistently positive reader responses.