Eircom's patronising advice to help your business

God knows there are more important things to be worrying about at the moment, but this is our field of expertise so I might as well comment.

The Eircom'Keep your business thriving' leaflet that has come with the latest bill is a very poor excuse for a business communication. It is patronising to send out such a sloppy effort expecting customers to be impressed or thankful or to find it beneficial.

Some valid points are made, many of which are either twee or extreme examples of stating the obvious (Website advice: "show your opening hours, contact information .."; delivery costs: "Only use next day delivery when necessary").

The key sales messages in the centre spread are delivered quite well, with a certain amount of sincerity and belief indentifiable in them. But in being so, they put the rest into even more sharp and unfavourable relief.

The first and last spreads are padding of the worst kind - pulled together badly from scraps of generic advice that you might get from a somewhat out-of-touch bank manager when you're overdraft is under pressure. ("If you have air conditioners, use them only when necessary.") They are clearly there in an attempt to couch the sales message, a slight-of-hand effort to lull us into a more receptive state: 'O, this is neutral advice offered in a genuine effort to help my business. It must be all right, then.'

But when it is done so badly that vague, incomprehsible, sloppy passages such these are let in, alarm bells should be going off:

Businesses should be availing of various professional services including the provision of management accounts and review, and online versions of accounting systems allowing much flexibility and cost effectiveness in this area.

The reality of home working means people are likely to log on very late or very early, in addition to during normal working hours. They can and do respond to queries out of office hours, delivering a more responsive service which your customers will appreciate.

Sorry? What? Huh? Are you speaking English? This is 'going through the motions' at its worst.

Should have known better than to read it, of course, when the front cover gives away so clearly the lack of a genuine effort at communication being made here:

"So finding certainties in an uncertain time is a huge positive for any small or medium sized business. It keeps your business thriving."

I also find the design to be remarkably 'off' for such a message and such an audience, but I've said enough already.

(Plese, Eircom, consider hiring us for you next business advice brochure - I can promise you a considerable improvement on getting the right messages across.)

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