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Case Study: Example of Corporate Image Problems: SARS

The South African Revenue "Service" (sic) has spent large amounts of (taxpayers') money on its corporate image, getting a logo designed and printing full colour letterheads. Yet a lack of templates and training nullifies this new image and makes them look like a bunch of idiots!  In the letter below (a genuine letter from SARS, the sender's name has been hidden to spare them embarrassment), the following mistakes occur:
  • Over eight months to give a response – training is needed in customer service!
  • Date of letter does not line up with address – a template would fix this.
  • It is rude to write all in CAPITALS – training is needed in business etiquette and/or the use of Shift and Caps Lock; a template with styles could help.
  • Wrong form of address for a business letter ("Sir" (used only for Letters to the Editor, or when challenging someone to a duel) instead of "Dear Sir") – training is needed.
  • Left margin is so narrow that punched holes for filing obliterate text – a template would fix this.
  • Spelling errors: "citezen", "ammended" – simple training in using the word processor's spelling checker would alleviate this.
  • Punctuation errors: no spaces after commas and full stops  – simple training in using the word processor's grammar checker would alleviate this.
  • Poor grammar: "what was stated as a VAT vendor you are obliged to collect VAT", "the obligation imposed by legislation,in this instance, VAT vendors."  – the grammar checker might help here, but a course in basic English might be needed.

It could be argued that no amount of technology and training would alter SARS's bad attitude towards the public, but we remain hopeful...


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