How Her Majesty's Treasury Relies On Handwritten Envelopes

06/12/2020| Psychology|Michael Michael

Handwritten messages increase tax revenue

Handwritten messages convey a special appreciation to the recipient. The addressee associates it with the effort the sender has taken to use this personal form of communication. The value of handwritten messages, especially in today’s digital world, has also been recognised by the UK government’s tax administration.

The UK government’s Behavioural Insights Team, the so-called “Nudge Unit”, has achieved a significant increase in tax revenue through the targeted use of a “nudge”. This is a method of influencing people’s behaviour in a predictable way without having to resort to prohibitions and commandments or changing economic incentives. In many cases, you can achieve this through handwritten messages.

Handwritten messages convey importance

UK government staff put a handwritten message on tax returns in the process. The only thing noted there was, “This message is important.” Because we are now so used to receiving machine-generated messages, these few handwritten words immediately stand out and draw our attention to them. Even if one should not pay attention to the content of what is written, the recipient immediately classifies them as particularly significant. Someone took the trouble to leave a handwritten note on the tax notice, so it must be important. So a “real” person had this piece of paper in their hand.

The reactions of the recipients were analysed in concrete terms by the “Nudge Unit”. David Halpern, the head of the unit, thus knows exactly what the economic benefit of these handwritten notes was: “Each handwritten message on the envelopes generated £2,000 in additional tax revenue for the British state.” A truly remarkable result for relatively little effort!

So “nudging” is about influencing people’s decisions to get them to act and make better choices. The concept of nudging is based on the book by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness”.

Handwritten letters get attention

What worked so well for the British government through a small handwritten note on the tax return can also pay off positively for any business. Be it through a handwritten birthday greeting for regular customers, an invitation to a company anniversary or a letter introducing a new product. There are many ways to use handwritten messages to attract and retain customers. However, you don’t have to write hundreds of letters or cards yourself in the process.

That’s where our friendly handwriting robots from Pensaki come in, using a real fountain pen and ink to create authentic handwritten messages. All you do is select the stationery or card online in our showroom, specify a robot handwriting and deliver the message.

This allows you to give your messages a very personal touch and inspire the customer. He will definitely remember you! The British marketing expert Rory Sutherland speaks of “costly signalling”. A handwritten message conveys to the recipient that you value them highly and are sincerely grateful. And by the way, you also express your own individuality as a brand or company. In this way, you not only anchor yourself in the customer’s emotions, but also in their memory.

Handwritten envelopes are practically always opened

The opening rate of handwritten envelopes is up to 90 per cent! In addition, advertising letters written by hand achieve a response rate of between 10 and 40 per cent in the acquisition of new customers. Provided you take the necessary success factors into account. With regular customers, you can achieve even better figures. Read more about this topic in our blog post “Why does handwriting work in the digital age”?


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