职场技巧
职场绝招: 如何让邮件回复率大增
2014-06-23 11:13  职场技巧

  This column will tell you:

  这篇专栏文章将会告诉你:
  - How to write an email that will produce the results you want;
  -如何写一封能够达到理想效果的电子邮件
  - Why the scientific method can produce practical insights, quickly.
  -为什么科学的方式能够快速产生适用的见解
  How can I promise this? I've just been reading up on the latest research from Paul Adams and Stefan Hunt of the Financial Conduct Authority - the UK's shiny new financial industry regulator.
  我为何会有这样的自信?我这段工夫一直在研读保罗??亚当斯(Paul Adams)和斯蒂芬??亨特(Stefan Hunt)的最新研究报告,两人均来自英国新成立的金融业监管机构金融市场行为监管局(Financial Conduct Authority)。
  I am delighted to report that they've been trying to figure out how to write more effective letters. Better yet, to this end they have conducted a large randomised trial. The wonderful conclusion: science can help us write more clearly.
  我乐于告诉大家,他们一直在努力研究如何写信的效果更佳。更值得惊叹的是,他们开展了大量随机实验,得出了一个奇妙的结论:科学可以帮助我们在写作中更明白地表达。
  The letters in question were being written by a company to 200,000 former customers. The letters raised the prospect of a mis-sold product and offered the possibility of a refund. The question was: which wording would prod customers into claiming their money? The FCA researchers, in co-operation with the company in question, designed variants of the letter, mailed each variant to 1,000 customers, and compared the response rates.
  该研究调查的对象,是一家公司写给20万名前客户的信。这些信件表示,该公司之前销售的一种产品可能有问题,公司可能会向客户退款。该研究试图搞明白的问题是:如何措辞会促使客户索要退款?两位研究者与该公司一同拟出了多种版本,并将每种版本发给1000个客户,然后对比各种版本的回信率。
  The original letter looks brief and to the point, but on closer inspection it buries the key detail: the customer may be entitled to a refund. Response rates to this letter were dismally low, less than 2 per cent. Perhaps that is no surprise - the recipients were ex-customers with every reason to throw the letter in the bin, unopened.
  原始的版本看上去简朴明了,但细心一看,“客户可能会有权获得退款”这个关键细节在这个版本的行文中毫不起眼。这封信的回复率特别低,还不到2%。这或许并不令人意外,收信人都是以前的客户,他们完全有理由不打开正文就把信件丢进垃圾箱。
  The experiment did the sort of thing that profit-seeking companies have been doing for many years: it tested seven different tweaks to the way the letter was written or presented. There are 128 different ways to combine these seven tweaks, and with each of 128 variants sent to 1,000 customers the experiment had a lot of power to pinpoint even quite small effects.
  这个实验所做的,就是追求利润的公司多年以来一直在做的事情:它检测了7种行文(或呈现方式)对信件回复率的影响。对这7种方式中的每一种选择采纳或不采纳,就会得到128个不同的信件版本。研究者将128个版本的每一种发送给1000个客户,因此这个实验有充足的能力检测出哪怕是特别细微的影响。
  Here are three tweaks that made little difference: printing “important: please read and act quickly” on the envelope induced a minuscule extra response; adding the regulator's logo achieved nothing; using the company CEO's name and signature instead of “customer services team” actually dissuaded people from responding.
  实验发现,采纳以下3种方式收效甚微:在信封上印“重要:请阅读并尽快采取行动”字样,几乎不增加回复;添加监管机构的logo也丝毫没有用;在落款处放上公司首席执行官的名字和签名而不是“客服团队”,现实上会减少回复。
  But four other tweaks had substantial effects: first, cutting a paragraph of waffle that had helped to bury the message about the refund; second, pointing out that a five-minute phone call would suffice to make a claim; third, sending a follow-up letter. And twice as large as any of these effects was adding a couple of bullet points in bold at the top with the key message: you may deserve a refund; if so, call us.
  但采纳另外4种方式却有显著效果:第一,去掉一个让关于退款的信息更不起眼的无意义段落;第二,告诉收信人,一个五分钟的电话足以完成申述;第三,发一封跟进信件。第四,在信件顶端用粗体字标出几条要点,传递出这条关键信息:你可能符合退款条件,如果符合,请来电。第四点的效果比前三点中任何一点都强至少一倍。
  This research has been marketed by the FCA as “behavioural economics exploring how people make financial decisions”, but like similar work on collecting fines and taxes conducted by the Cabinet Office's Behavioural Insight Team, it is simpler and more pragmatic than that. There is no behavioural theory at play here, and nor do we really gain any insight into why consumers are reacting the way they do. But that's fine. Simple, pragmatic research is a sensible thing for a regulator to be doing - and the cost of this kind of experiment is tiny relative to the potential gains.
  金融市场行为监管局称,该研究是一次“探索人们如何做出财务决策的行为经济学”实验,但更粗浅和适用——与内阁办公室(Cabinet Office)行为研究小组(Behavioural Insight Team)关于罚款和税收的研究类似。该研究并没有运用行为学理论,我们也没有真正了解消费者的行为方式为什么是这样。但这没关系。进行简朴、适用的研究对于监管机构来说是明智的,而相对于潜在的收益来说,这类实验的成本是微乎其微的。
  True, the results are unsurprising: say what you mean; be brief; ask for action; follow up if you hear nothing. But this is important. It's important because it shows a regulator with an interest in learning and improving, and it's important because while the advice is common-sense, it's advice that many people - and even more bureaucracies - fail to heed.
  是的,这些发现都在人们的意料之中:把你的意思直接表达出来;行文简练;告诉收信者该做什么;如果没有回音就连续跟进。但这几点确实很重要,原因在于,它们表明监管机构有爱好去学习和改善,另外,虽然这些建议是常识,但很多人、乃至更多机构都没有遵从。
  And even if the findings seem obvious, the effect is huge. The best letter received seven times as many responses as the original one. The three best tweaks each made more of an impact than the decision to send a letter at all rather than nothing. Brevity and clarity matter: advice worth taking next time you write an email.
  另外,即便这些发现看似明显,但它们的效果却是巨大的。效果最好的信件版本,回复率是原始版本的7倍。原始版本回复率几乎为零,而采纳三种效果最好的方式中的任意一种,都会让信件回复率大大提高。行文简练和表达明白特别重要:这条建议值得你在下次写电子邮件时采纳。

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