Style, flow, rhythm: Being persuasive

Nature of edit  To improve presentation and tone of voice

Type of copy  Customer information/payment request

Before

Dear Customer

Happy New Year, as another year starts myself and Crown Dairy are always looking at ways we can improve the service we provide you.Due to the area I serve, the amount of customers I have and the large congestion of traffic, parking and vehicle Restrictions I have been having difficulties in calling back on customers in order to collect payment, in the interest of personal safety (i.e. I am carrying less cash) and providing an efficient early delivery of your milk and goods to your doorstep, I would like to suggest our direct debit payment service, you just fill in the form provided, return it to me and I will bill you on the last week of every month with payment to follow. Switching to Direct debit is not compulsory however this would be greatly appreciated in allowing me to be safer at work and providing the efficient service of your doorstep deliveries and that of our new online service milk plus, if you are already a direct debit or milk plus customer please ignore this letter.

Kind Regards

Your Milkman

After

Dear Customer

Happy New Year! The start of a new year is a good time to see how Crown Dairy and I can improve the service I provide you.

Because of the heavy traffic and parking restrictions in your area, it can be difficult for me to call back and collect payment for the goods I deliver. For my own safety, I carry little cash, so I can't always provide you with the right change when you don't have the exact money.

It would be a great help if you would be willing to use our direct debit payment service. Just fill in the form with this letter and return it to me. I will give you a monthly bill for your records, and payment will be taken automatically from your bank account.

Of course, you do not have to use this way to pay. However, it would allow me to work more safely and more efficiently in delivering goods to your door, including those ordered via our online "Milk plus" service.

If you already pay by direct debit, please ignore this letter.

Kind regards

Your Milkman

Problem and solution

This badly written and presented request would make a very poor impression on the customer. It contained a sensible request but was off-putting in its appearance and tone. It was improved by:

  • being split into different paragraphs to highlight the points being made
  • being punctuated properly
  • having rambling sentences divided into sensible ones
  • having unnecessary or repetitive information removed.

The revised version is slightly longer – 187 rather than 184 words – but is clearer and more likely to persuade customers to change to paying by direct debit.