It goes without mentioning that employees are an organisation’s brand ambassadors. However, it is up to the organisation to decide if they would like to nurture their employees to become the best brand ambassadors – through great written and spoken communication in English!
Good English Endures
Think about it – Every day, hundreds or even thousands of calls and emails are exchanged between employees and their customers. In fact, today’s customers rampantly post questions and comments on organisations’ social media platforms where employees are required to respond quickly and publicly. The last thing you need is for an employee to respond with a reply that is riddled with grammatical errors.
In other words, having an employee who only looks the part but is not able to speak or write professionally is tantamount to sipping a seemingly aromatic cup of coffee that had turned rancid, leaving a bad taste in your customer’s mouth.
Customers will judge your brand by the way your employees write and speak
If your employees use only an average level of English, customers will think that your brand is average. If they are able to speak and write eloquently, it will certainly create a powerful impression on customers.
Undoubtedly, correct grammar usage is also important to avoid misunderstanding, and help customers understand you easily. Poor English slows down communication and conversations so much so that employees may find it hard to express their ideas and thoughts clearly and concisely.
A study was conducted to identify the most difficult situations that employees face in terms of English usage. Not surprisingly, the areas identified include “making telephone calls”, “participating in meetings”, “writing emails”, and “answering questions”. These are the precise activities that take place in every employee’s daily work! In the same study, findings showed that 91% of employees felt that English was “critical or important for their current jobs” but only 9% felt that their English skills were sufficient.
Here are some reasons why your employees are (still) using poor English:
1. Nobody gives them feedback
To avoid making a fool of themselves or out of the fear of embarrassing a fellow colleague, grammar and spelling mistakes usually stay uncorrected. In most organisations, only the important publications get vetted.
2. Everyone is uncertain about grammar
Many people speak based on how the statement sounds like (ie does the statement sound correct?). However, they don’t know the grammar rules. Which preposition should you use? Which tense is better? A good understanding of grammar allows employees to choose the best way of saying something.
So, what are some of the solutions?
1. Keep it simple
The fastest way to ensure that your writing is readable is to keep it simple. Keeping your sentences to 15 words save customer’s time in trying to interpret your message.
2. Write and think “Modern”
While adopting a formal style of writing, avoid using words such as “kindly…” or “please be advised…” as it reveals the “age” of your organisation. This could also facilitate a disconnect with millennials – the new-age customers.
3. Use only positive words and statements
Sometimes, all it takes is a switch in the choice of words to leave your customers with a positive lingering impression. Rather than saying “sorry for the trouble”, wouldn’t it be better to just thank the customer for his cooperation?
English is the fundamental form of any communication between an organisation and its customers. Before spending another sum on your next branding move, remember what an investment in raising the English standards of your employees (also known as your brand ambassadors) could do for your brand.