Managers and staff at Leaders, a letting agency with branches all over South East England, are well practised at managing relationships with both the tenants and landlords who use their services.Initially, the client suggested a set of courses in letter-writing skills, along with further courses in report-writing for some delegates, to support their professional development.However, further consultation revealed that there was a real need to improve people’s skills at responding effectively when writing in response to complaint letters. This task posed a major challenge; often the facts of the situation were disputed and emotions were running high. As a result, the letters Leaders staff wrote in reply risked being unconsidered, defensive and, at worst, adding to the problem.


A series of one-day workshops was designed and delivered over the period of a year for managers and staff of branches in different regions. We explored how to write letters in such a way that maintained professional credibility, but also addressed genuine grievances. Universal principles were covered – how to manage the writing process; how to structure points clearly in a logical order for the reader; how to use good style to enhance the effectiveness of the message. To make the training truly relevant, real life examples of complaint letters sent to Leaders, along with the replies written by Leaders staff, were used within the workshops. Analysis of this correspondence heightened the participants’ awareness of potential pitfalls, and provoked discussion of how to respond clearly and empathetically, while maintaining the Leaders point of view. (The letters were censored to render them anonymous, unless the Leaders person involved person involved volunteered ownership, which happened on several occasions.)


After the training, the delegates understood how letter-writing was an integral tool for building and repairing relationships with their customers. They also reported they were much more confident at communicating on the page. Several of them choose to have further training in report writing.

Rated People

The background

Andy Skipwith is the CEO of Rated People, a fast-growing online company which connects home-improvers with recommended tradesmen. Rated People has been able to successfully monetise the concept of creating a network matching jobs with those with the skills to do them.

Andy had been offered the opportunity to make a speech at the Ideal Home Show in London, a high profile event full of Rated People’s target market of home-improvers and extensively covered by the media. He was keen to make a good impact and raise the profile of his company.

The approach

Karen Glossop began by helping Andy Skipwith define his and Rated People’s communication strategy, and then identifying how this new opportunity would allow him to fulfil his aims. A process was evolved over a time frame of four weeks to explore options and make decisions.

Once Andy had identified his specific objectives and what impact he wanted to have on his audience, Karen facilitated a series of brainstorming and feedback sessions together with Andy and Rated People’s copywriter, Sophie Griffths. This enabled them to work as a team to create a succinct speech that was logically and persuasively structured, yet had a relaxed, humorous and engaging style.

Once the speech was fixed, Karen coached Andy with the techniques to relax and deliver an assured performance.

Karen also observed Andy in action on a couple of his presentation slots at the Ideal Home Show, and gave recommendations for fine-tuning his performance.

The outcome

Andy had a very positive experience of speaking at the Ideal Home Show, and has received requests to speak at other events. It has allowed him to meet his stated objective of raising awareness of Rated People as an independent, credible, friendly voice in the British home-improvement business.