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A more approachable approach


The Australian Taxation Office sends over 100 million pieces of correspondence to taxpayers each year, often causing distress or confusion to the recipients. 


We were appointed to help them create a simpler, clearer and more human tone. One that made people more likely to engage with them, instead of burying their heads in the sand.


As well as rewriting key communications, we’ve held 63 training courses for ATO staff throughout Australia. More than 800 people have been introduced to the ATO's new, more approachable writing style.  To ensure the learnings 'stick', each attendee also receives a printed guide based on our POWER writing methodology, which we tailor to individual brands.

We encouraged a more personal approach

Our worked featured in the Australian Financial Review

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Making things better 


Medibank's brief to us was simple: make every written engagement with members clearer and more distinctively Medibank. 


Easier said than done. After all, health insurance is the most heavily regulated financial services business. And the initial prognosis wasn't good. Over the years, their communications had become infected with complexity and industry jargon. 


We created a style that was more spoken than written, using terms and phrases that members could easily understand. Then we applied it to hundreds of key communications - from claims letters to rate change emails. At the same time they asked us to simplify their product information. This involved writing and designing over 20 in-store product brochures to make choosing cover easier.


Finally, they asked us to help their resolutions team write in a more human tone to unhappy customers. We ran training workshops that have brought a healing touch to the most sensitive situations. 

Customer collateral made simple and human

Customer complaints team training

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Connecting with words


Telstra sends over 300 million messages to its customers every year. They wanted to become a truly customer-focused business, but knew they couldn't achieve that without first improving this huge area of customer experience. 


Over 18 months we helped Telstra audit 7,000 individual customer communications, and re-write close to 5,000. We brought clarity and brand personality to everything from text alerts to collection letters.


We also ran a series of Connecting with Words workshops for their employees, encouraging a more human tone of voice. Over 1,000 people have been trained in person, with 30,000 more benefiting from the e-training we helped create for their staff and partners.

Text made short

and sweet

Chat guide for live chat teams

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How we helped a bank update 

its voice


NAB was refreshing its brand and wanted to portray an organisation that would go to any lengths to help its customers realise their dreams.


Trouble was, the correspondence they were sending customers each day was often far from helpful. They knew that to be truly credible they needed to change the way they communicated one to one. 


The project encompassed 2,500 letters and emails, which we first audited, then re-wrote in a clearer, simpler and more engaging tone.


Our approach was often challenged by areas of the business who had their own views on what constituted a 'professional' tone of voice.  


Thankfully we had the support and involvement of leaders from throughout the bank. Importantly, we worked closely with NAB’s senior legal counsel and his team, who were as keen as us to simplify the language they used.

Dear Sir/Madam, I refer to our letter dated 15 March 1893.

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Turning accidents into positive experiences


QBE Insurance wanted to re-launch their brand and knew that their customer-focused proposition would need to be brought to life in written correspondence.


Our job was to create a suite of communications that could be used throughout the business and to train their staff in using the new style when writing with customers.


We began by auditing close to 1,000 individual communications for tone, clarity and overall 'brand fit'. We then mapped out the customer journey, highlighting the real moments of truth for customers. As well as identifying redundant communications, our audit also led us to create vital new ones that filled important gaps.


We then held a series of workshops that gave QBE staff the opportunity to explore the new writing style and how it translated into customer writing. These sessions were based on our POWER™ writing approach and were held on site in Perth and Sydney. The feedback was overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

Staff in Sydney and Perth attended our POWER training workshops

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Creating a local conversation


In March 2011 we were asked to create an entire suite of customer correspondence for the new Bank of Melbourne.


They wanted to offer a genuine banking alternative for Victorians, with highly localised and personal service. We were asked to ensure the written experience captured that promise – clearly and consistently.


Our brief was to create about 700 letters and e-mails, along with 400 business forms, across all areas of the business. Everything had to be ready by the end of July, in time for newly opened branches.


We wanted to create a voice that was uniquely Victorian. So, working with the bank's brand consultancy and key marketing staff, we created a set of 20 ‘hero’ communications that set exactly the right tone and formed the blueprint for the rest.


Less than 5 months after starting the project, we delivered a complete suite of correspondence and forms that introduced the new Bank’s spirit and values in their most often-used and intimate communications. 

"Shame about the Bombers on Saturday."

How positive writing saved them $2 million


BUPA’s annual rate change mailing generated thousands of incoming calls from angry or confused customers, costing them millions of dollars in extra call centre staff.


They briefed us to minimize the impact of the rate rise and keep additional incoming calls below 3,500 a day.  The simple, upfront way in which we delivered the news to customers meant that only 300 extra calls were received daily. It also meant a minimal drop in customer satisfaction, which was maintained at 83%.


The reduced call centre costs translated into a $2 million saving over two years. Need we say more? 

There's a good way to deliver bad news.

Advising the advisers


In mid-2016, BT Advice asked us to improve the documents that support their financial advice, specifically their Financial Services Guide and Statement of Advice.


Over time, these had become complicated and impersonal.  Our task was to make them simple, engaging and helpful documents that would complement ongoing conversations between clients and advisers.


After extensive redesigning, rewriting and CX testing, the new documents were adopted in late 2016 and immediately received excellent feedback from customers, advisers and the senior management at BT Financial Group.

A Friendly service helps Gumtree gain traction


Gumtree is hugely popular with people looking to buy new or used cars.  The key to this success is the relationships they have with over 1,500 automotive dealers throughout Australia, who buy listings on a subscription basis.


In early 2015 Gumtree asked us improve how they were engaging this audience.  Our brief was to look at the role of communications in helping dealers understand and adopt Gumtree’s services. 


We hit the road and interviewed dozens of dealers. It soon became clear that these were people in a hurry, and that every message we sent them had to deliver obvious and immediate value.


Based on our learnings, we refined the contact strategy and developed a more cohesive approach that complemented Gumtree’s sales and support teams.  We reviewed and improved every step in the journey – from prospecting and onboarding, to all the transaction-based communications.


The resulting strategic recommendation and communications materials are now in force, helping Gumtree gain ground in a highly competitive market.

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