WEDNESDAY 14 DEC 2016 12:36 PM

LOSING ON LANGUAGE

Businesses may be missing out on millions due to poor use of language. A new study by market researcher Illuma Research and language consultancy the Writer found that UK businesses could be wasting £1.26m a year by using language ineffectively when communicating with customers.

Businesses know effective language has a big impact, but often communicate better in the channels that are least important to the customer experience. The research discovered that 70% of businesses believe they use language most effectively in the channels they consider least important such as email, while in their most important channels, such as call centres, only 61% think they communicate well. Websites are deemed to be the most important channel, and the place where businesses think they best communicate.

Neil Taylor, creative partner at the Writer, says, "Businesses clearly get, on some level, that words can mean numbers – that effective language improves the customer experience and boosts profits as a result. But this study also shows that UK companies have a long way to go if they want to get a real bang from their linguistic buck. There’s a big difference between knowing language matters and knowing how to get the most from it. Given that they recognise the millions language can generate, it’s vital they start communicating more effectively in the channels they consider most important."

The research also found that over half of businesses have never formally reviewed how they use language for an improved customer experience (CX). While 51% claim to have guidelines in place, only 15% have reviewed them in the past two years. Though only a small fraction of businesses in the study admit to sticking to their guidelines closely, they still recognise that effective CX can make and save money. However, businesses need to think more about using language strategically if they are to reap the benefits. Given that businesses believe good language can increase how effective their CX spend is by 16%, and that they invest an average of £7.9m yearly on CX initiatives, it may well be worth the further investment.

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