Maintaining the tone in every contact

If your website’s main content has a consistent tone throughout, that’s great; but don’t forget those other points of contact with your readers or customers. This might be rarely needed web pages (such as the 404 error page) or following up on an order.

I recently ordered a couple of t-shirts online from howies, and the company’s warm, informal tone (with a hint of dry wit) continued throughout the process. It really felt as though one person was speaking to me throughout.

For example, from the order confirmation:

A big thanks for your order […] We will be burning the midnight oil to make sure your order is dealt with to make sure you’re not waiting too long! (By the way your card will not be charged until your stuff leaves our warehouse.) […] A despatch confirmation e-mail will be sent to you as your order leaves us down here.

And from the despatch email:

Just thought you’d like to know your order is heading out of Cardigan Bay as we speak. And it’s heading your way. With luck and a good tailwind, it should be with you in the next day or so […] If you ever come down to Cardigan Bay, please let us know and we will put the kettle on.

(However, I’d be curious to know if they really do welcome customers in for a cup of tea if they happen to be in the area. Whatever you write, it should be sincere.)

So, don’t forget all those little words that reach your customers, from email signatures and out-of-office replies through to rarely-read-but-required web pages (here’s a nice selection of creative aforementioned error pages).

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