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News article created on 23 January 2014

S.W.A.L.K

OK, I admit that the letters I receive are generally not ‘sealed with a loving kiss’…but that’s not to say that I enjoy receiving them any less.

Receipt of an unusual postcard request to send someone (in Germany) “detailed informations” (about what exactly I have no idea!) recently got me thinking about all the different ways customers contact us and, because I’m a total geek at heart, this naturally led me on to sort them into my personal order of preference;

  1. 1. Telephone (obviously)
  2. 2. Hand written letter by post or even postcard (photos/illustrations are a bonus!)
  3. 3. e-mail / Social media (for me this is Twitter)
  4. 4. Computer generated letter by post

Once you get past telephone enquiries which are always my favourite (after all who doesn’t love to chat on the phone?) then I have to say that receiving an envelope addressed by hand with matching contents is my second favourite…and not by much at all. 

In my (very humble) opinion the gulf between receiving a handwritten letter and one that’s been typed up on a PC and printed is so very vast that I have put the latter right at the bottom of my list.  After all, there’s nothing special at all about receiving a sheet of plain white A4 paper adorned in the very ordinary and uninspiring black Arial or Times New Roman typeface. 

I'd rather have an e-mail any day.

The art of letter writing is now so rare it’s almost extinct and I think it's a crying shame.  That's because receiving a ‘proper’ letter is such a personal experience...it’s like opening a small window into the life of the author.  It's filled with pieces of subtle information; from the tiniest details like the size, colour and quality of the paper and envelope, the choice of writing instrument or the smell that's carried in the fabric of that paper and lingers long after the envelope is opened right down to the individual’s calligraphy. 

It's hard to explain but they just make me smile, always have and always will.  Of course, interpreting the sometimes indecipherable spider crawl is a challenge on its own but that only adds to the enjoyment.  I can never get past the thought that someone has sat down and taken the time to put pen to paper just for me, regardless of the subject matter.

However...and it's a BIG however...after telling you all this I’m ashamed to say that normal convention means my response will always appear on that dreaded unmemorable (albeit letter headed) A4 white paper in 11pt Arial and on a 15pt line spacing.  When all the time I’m dying to return the enjoyment and send my very own handwritten reply. 

Maybe I will, one day.

About this blog

Sarina Young

Sarina joined us in 2008 as our customer services co-ordinator. Among other things, she manages our national customer service team, complaints procedure and requests for information made to the Trust. She says that the most important thing to her is to be able to go home and feel as though she’s achieved something, however small that might be. Her job is hugely satisfying, widely varied, full of deadlines, immensely interesting, sometimes challenging and no day is ever the same, although some are surprisingly familiar!  

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