Life is good when copyeditors rule the communication process. But for important messages, such as a company’s crisis communications, the writing is often done by committee. The results can be awful, and changing anything can involve a battle.
In a crisis communication, we have to deal with a natural desire to keep a positive tone while admitting the truth, but not too obviously. We also face coworkers’ fears about changing a vice president’s prized prose or a lawyer’s excessively cautious approach.
The following letter is positive but buries the main message. How would you balance the company’s desire for reassurance with the reader’s need to clearly understand what happened? Give it a try, then check out my edited version, with explanations, in the February–March 2018 issue of Copyediting.
At Proactive Synergies Inc., part of our “Customer First” commitment includes taking pride in earning your trust through unparalleled attention to the security of your account(s). Because we strive to continually improve our service to you, we wanted you to be aware that we have resolved a process issue that could possibly have affected a fraction of accounts.
This issue was due to a systems process error resulting in data from a very small number of Proactive Synergies accounts to be released publicly last month. As an end result, we have put controls in place to prevent this from happening again. Rest assured your data is currently safe.
We regret any possible inconvenience this may have caused. If you have any questions, please call your local sales representative, who can explain methods we have put in place to redress any possible issues that may be related to this systems process issue.
Proactive Synergies Inc.
Your “Customer First” Company
Not an Individual Subscriber? Sign up today and get immediate access to our current issue and our archives!