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Success or failure relies on getting the details right

Success or failure relies on getting the details right

Two different items have arrived in the post lately which provoked entirely different reactions.

One was a personal card from the vet after we sadly took the decision to put our elderly dog to sleep. It was a lovely card, featuring an image of dogs and cats on the front, signed by the team and it contained a poem and a packet of forget-me-not seeds.

The other was a handwritten envelope addressed to me at my business address. It was from an executive car company and contained a letter inside addressed to ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, printed on cheap, flimsy paper.

The first one was very timely, reassuring us that we had made the right decision and extremely thoughtful. We have always thought well of the vets, but this reinforced that feeling and makes us feel confident and happy to recommend them.

The second started out well with the handwritten envelope which was very personal. But the contents completely let it down. An executive car company with substandard stationery? What are the cars like? What are the drivers like? Will they be reliable? Are they really ‘executive’? And if they’ve taken the trouble to hand write the envelope and know my name, why put such an impersonal address as ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ inside? It’s really easy to either do a mail-merge, or even to simply hand write ‘Dear Jane’ at the top of a standard typed letter.

Writing a personal letter can be very effective, especially in the frantic environment of email and social media. If you’re going to go to the considerable trouble of communicating personally (and it’s worth it!), think it through and do it well. Otherwise your efforts will go to waste and you will end up leaving entirely the wrong impression.

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