How Customer Friendly Is Your Written Correspondence?

I remember receiving an unexpected surprise gift from a friend of mine seven years ago…

I sent him a message of thanks on Facebook Messenger:

It began:

“Kirk, you are full of surprises.”

As is the way with messages, personal devices can choose to shorten them so Kirk received a message from me that read:

“Kirk, you are full of s….”

Which brings me to this week…

I had been receiving text messages on my phone from Australia Post that an item that I had ordered was on its way and was being delivered to my Post Office Box [PO Box].

Which is where I get boxes and parcels delivered because I have a front gate at home, and the gate is a way away from the house, so the PO Box is just easier for deliveries.

So today at 8:54am I received the following text message:

“AusPost: You have an item(s) to collect at Robertson LPO. ID required. See http:?? Do not reply.”

I thought:

“OK. Message received and understood”

Then at 9:06am, some twelve minutes later I received the following shortened email notice:

“Australia Post

Please collect your PO Box item/s

Please pick it up by 13 Dec 2019 Your PO Box item/s

are ready to be picked up Addressed to your PO Bo…”

Opening the email presented me with a message even more impersonal than the abbreviated message:


I was shocked.

Is this the way that businesses talk to their customers?

In four word sentences?

With warnings?

Is this how things really are in 2019?

On a positive note, the word “please” was used….

Here’s how I would have structured the email message.

“Hi David,

A delivery has arrived for you at Robertson Post Office, and is now available for you to collect it.

I’m not sure whether it’s something you’ve been waiting on or not. It was addressed to your PO Box, and we’ll be able to hold it here for you until 13 December 2019.

But you’ll probably want to come and get it as soon as possible.”

Then I’d put in all the details, such as the Post Office address [with map] and the tracking number, photo ID etc.:

[Though I’m really not sure why I need a map to find the Post office where I have my PO Box….after all, that’s where I collect my mail?? I know where the Post Office is already]

Finally I’d end the email with:

“Oh by the way, if you can’t collect your item within thirty days, we’ll have to return it to the sender, and we wouldn’t want to have to do that…”

Just to personalise the email.

As it stands…

As it stands at present the email is jumbled in order of information and sounds more like a prison assembly announcement.

It is very sterile and impersonal, and need not be.

Because, most deliveries to PO Boxes have been ordered by the receiver, and with that order comes some degree of anticipation.

Australia Post should really be trying to SHARE in that feeling of anticipation, rather than ignore the excitement and divert around it.

How does this apply to dental?

Are there letters or SMS messages that your dental office is sending to customers that read more like a prison assembly announcement?

When they could be written to sound as though the writer is really one concerned friend who is reaching out to someone [they know well] with a solution to a problem that the receiver didn’t realise was so urgent?

Take a good look at your written correspondences that are being sent by your practice.

Are they written in a lecturing tone that conjures up an image of a finger being pointed at the reader?

Try addressing the conversations being had in a conciliatory and friendly manner, and watch and see what a difference this makes to your patients, and see how better they will respond to making and keeping those necessary dental appointments.


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