Pink Plasma Ball

Be nice to them.

It really is that simple but it’s shocking how many businesses are negative or even hostile to their customers without being aware of it. Today’s mini-makeover comes from the accounting world as an excerpt of tax return submission instructions from a letter sent to clients.

You’ve Got Mail

(Capitalization is from the original.)

“Due to the turnaround time necessary for in-house procedures and computer operations, it is vital to send in your tax information EARLY. We cannot promise to complete returns that are sent to us in April. PLEASE send only complete information—sending in information bit by bit will incur extra charges.


Not Lovin’ This

There are two ways to read this, as the long suffering accountant who has to deal with all those shoeboxes and tote bags of records and scraps of paper; or, as the paying client with a mile long to-do list and a bank officer breathing down their neck.

Since this is about what makes customers happy, let’s look at it from their side.

  • First, all those capitals are shouting do this and do that. Capitalizing the word “please” doesn’t make it nicer; it’s snarky.
  • Then, when their clients read the copy, it’s all about the accountants, their schedule and what they want to make their life easier.  There’s not one scrap that clients care about or that lifts their burden.
  • Last, there’s that comment about complete information and extra charges. Nothing puts someone on edge like the threat of a surprise bill.

Let’s Rewrite

“To speed the preparation and processing of your tax return, please send your information as early as possible. We strive to prepare returns quickly and accurately, but missing information will result in longer preparation times and more time and effort for all.

With your information in hand by the end of March, we can complete your returns by the due date. To ensure that important information is properly included in all your returns, please separate personal tax information from business items.”

Feel the Love

The revised version emphasizes the benefits to the firm’s client of speedy tax preparation, accuracy and less effort on their part by following a few friendly suggestions. It’s about the client and their needs as well as communicating professionalism and quality service from the company.

Your Business, Your Customers

Don’t be confused because today’s mini-makeover was about accounting. The idea is the same no matter what your product or service. Being nice to your customers and making them happy is good business; after all, they pay you.

What does this say to you? Share your story in the comments!

If your business communications aren’t spreading the love and you want to polish your message, contact me for a makeover.