Business Good customer service

Dear customer “Would you like some alphabet soup?”

The trouble with jargon when writing to customers

Jargon. Most of us hate it and yet we see it everywhere. Whilst it can help when talking to colleagues to expedite conversations, it is not a great idea when talking to customers!

Whilst there be some things that have to be used in correspondence with customers such as with legal requirements there is rarely a need for much of what we see. Vulnerable customers in particular can struggle with jargon and acronyms. People can’t work out what abbreviations are and will often forget, even if they’re explained earlier in the correspondence.

Jargon can be really boring too and we lose attention when we are bored! In effect, you are turning your customer off from reading the correspondence, increasing the gap between you and them, the opposite of what you want to be achieving.

hand writing in notepad in front of laptop

No need to be clever

Sometimes correspondence can just come across as the author trying to be clever or over-complicating things, when in fact the result is far from smart. You might know exactly what is wrong with the laptop that needs a repair but it is highly likely that your customer just wants to be sure that you are going to repair it and by when it will be fixed!

You want your customers to be interested in what you have to say! So, please engage appropriately with them. Trying to complicate and/or confuse the issue helps no-one.

Be genuine when writing to customers

When you write the letter or email, read through and ask yourself what you would think if you were elderly, or had a learning disability or anxiety or any other vulnerability. You may look at your correspondence differently.

More can be found in Think before pressing “send” in reply to a customer complaint.

Unless you are a lawyer talking about legal technicalities, there is no reason to be using words that could be considered legalese or old-fashioned such as “Hitherto”. It’s just not necessary. “Previously” or “before now” are both much more appropriate.

Keep it simple

Check for simple language. Use simple, clear, concise and readable wording that your recipient can engage with. If you can’t explain something in an easy way, do you really understand it yourself?

Whilst you are trying to improve your correspondence so that your customers understand and accept your reply and you increase loyalty and sales, have someone else look over your emails/letters for a short time. A fresh pair of eyes will give you a different perspective. It would be even better if the person checking for you is not part of your own business.

More tips for tweaking your correspondence to retain customers and get them referring people to you in the free download Customer Service: 5 ways to get rave reviews & referrals.

Remember, you are trying to inform, not impress, your customers when writing to them about a complaint they have!

Please, just make it easy for your customers.

The Complaining Cow – free support for businesses

It takes 5 times as much to gain a new customer to retain one. So work on turning your customers into superfans who do much of the heavy lifting for you!

Join the Facebook Group Increase Sales through Customer Service: Compassion, Care and  Integrity  A private group where you can give and get support, advice and share good practice on how to improve customer service.

Free download Customer Service 5 ways to get rave reviews & referrals a few tweaks to your customer service can help you reduce the risk to your company’s reputation, finances and impact on customers and increase sales.

Customer Service how to turn customers into superfans raving about your products/services

Business Companies customer service Complaining about customer service Good customer service Latest News

Complaining habits of public figures – Rob Rinder

Helen Dewdney interviews Rob Rinder about complaining

In my series of interviews with people in the consumer world regarding their complaining habits, today it is the turn of Rob Rinder.

In this series I ask the same 11 questions of everyone. It might sound a bit daft for me to do this for Rob Rinder too (which it was but I did it anyway, adds a bit of humour I feel!) :😊

Find out how much Rob Rinder complains, when and how…

Rob Rinder talks to Helen Dewdney about his complaining habits

Other interviews with Rob Rinder

Rob also spoke to me about his life as a barrister in an exclusive interview with me. Find out about his journey, what he thinks of the system for new entrants and who he thinks should be the next Chief Lord Justice.


Rob Rinder talks about his media career in the second of the series of exclusive interviews. Find out what he enjoys, what he doesn’t, what’s next for him and more!

About Rob Rinder

Rob Rinder is a barrister, TV Judge, Presenter, author and columnist for The Sun and the Evening Standard.

Face shot of Rob Rinder on Zoom

Read about the interviewing habits of other public figures in the series of interviews by The Complaining Cow

Help with your complaints

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!


If you need help with complaining effectively and making sure you are never fobbed off. GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!



101 Habits if an Effective complainer book cover with logo

101 Habits of an Effective Complainer to help you become more skilled and assertive when making complaints (and see Rob’s review!)




What's in there then? A review by Rob Rinder