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Jargon in letters costing business.

BADLY written letters riddled with jargon could be costing British firms valuable business because of the effect they have on customers, according to a new report.

A survey found that people were prepared to stop dealing with a firm if they received a 'letter from hell.'

Mistakes in personal information, confusing jargon and over-complicated sentences were among the main problems highlighted in a survey of 2,200 people by the Abbey bank.

One in four people said they had received a bullying or threatening letter, and many said they felt irritated or angry.

Among the organisations blamed for sending 'lousy letters' were councils, gas, electricity and water companies, insurance firms and the Inland Revenue.

More than 70% of those questioned said they had severed ties with a company if they had received a letter which angered or upset them.

Author of the research, Dr Guy Fielding said, 'In today's world of sound bites and e-mail, the old-fashioned letter has a much greater impact than one might think. People keep letters for longer and their effects can go deep, particularly if they feel their intelligence has been insulted.

'While businesses spend millions on sophisticated technology to improve their relationships with customers, they ignore the cost of badly written letters. But they do so at their peril - lousy letters are severely damaging their reputation.'
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 13, 2003
Words:222
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