Research on plain English
International research, for example from the UK and New Zealand indicates that by being aware of literacy issues, organisations can be more
effective in meeting the needs of those who use their services. Both citizens and governments benefit from effective and understandable communications:
citizens are more likely to exercise their rights and meet their obligations and governments are more likely to make better use of their resources.
Internationally, plain English has produced significant cost savings and led to increased productivity and efficiency.
Savings from using plain English
- After producing a clearer bill in plain English, British Telecom saw customer inquiries fall by 25% each quarter. Customers also paid their bills more promptly,
which improved revenue and reduced the cost of collecting overdue bills. Before the change, BT had received a million calls a year.
- When Arizona's Department of Revenue rewrote one letter in plain English, it received about 11,000 fewer phone calls than in the previous year.
Plain English helped improve efficiency and staff morale, as employees were no longer answering the same questions repeatedly.