If you offer customers a long term contract or service – for example, utilities, phone contracts, financial services – a consistent communication style is vital. While slight adjustments based on the medium you’re using are expected, you should never use one voice online and a completely different one in print.
The user journey goes beyond the ‘buy’ button
As your online process develops, the offline process must keep up. A continued positive experience means a continually happy customer who will stick with you. A change of pace, voice and expectation can be jarring.
Imagine a company’s new website and application process is working. Traffic is growing, and more people are signing up. If you’re part of the digital team, your work here is probably done. But for the user, the journey is far from over. They’re likely to be sent a letter with terms and conditions in-tow, or a form to sign and send back. Expertly-crafted copy will slide between web and print so effortlessly that the customer won’t even notice it’s written by different teams. Copy without any attention paid to consistency will stick out like a sore thumb – even if your customer can’t quite put their finger on why.
Give letters and web content the same tone of voice treatment
It really is that simple. If it’s one set of rules for web content and another for letters, your brand voice will get lost, and your customers won’t know what to expect from you. Keep things uniform by creating guidelines that can be used across everything you write. As an example, Method cleaning products do this really well.
A style guide is a great place to start. It should include preferred words, words to avoid, capitalisation rules and general advice on tone. Making the rules as clear as possible will help teams across the business to adopt one confident, consistent voice in every word your brand speaks.
Check out our Terrible Tone of Voice Playbook – tips on creating a truly awful brand voice, so that you know exactly what to avoid.
Make yourself recognisable
Keep this in mind: your aim isn’t just to give your customers a positive experience, but to help them instantly recognise you by your brand voice alone. As any marketing pro will tell you, this is the ultimate goal, whether you’re off or online.