First-name terms, please!

Dear Janet/John/Daniela/Rui/Mohammed! Why we address you by your first name at tolingo

It’s become more common to address people by their first names – even in the world of business. Companies in the US have been doing it for donkey’s years. In the start-up scene it has long been common practice as well as at major corporations such as IKEA, ALDI and OTTO. Even banks and insurance companies, once regarded as bastions of conservatism, such as DKB and CosmosDirekt, now use first names when contacting their private clients. At tolingo, we’ve decided to take this step too: we now address you by your first name in all our business communications.

Why did we take this decision?

Increasing internationalisation with English as an almost entirely informal business language, working environments with flat hierarchies, social media and the relaxed tone on the Internet – all this means that using first names in business is becoming the done thing. Today companies are increasingly recognising this shift and deciding how they want to address their employees, clients and others: more formal and at a distance by using Mr, Mrs, Sir or Madam, or more personal and approachable by using first names. 

How are we handling it?

For us, being on first-name terms is a small but significant component in a calculated policy: we put the individual needs of our clients at the centre of all our professional translation services. We would like to emphasise this by addressing you by your first name. Without trying to appear “matey”, our communication reflects our corporate values: personal, approachable and above all client-focused.

Dear readers, we also address you by your first name here too. And we aim to reflect gender impartiality too – but that’s another story to be told another other time. We communicate informally yet respectfully in our emails and in personal conversations – unless you let us know that you prefer it otherwise. In that case, of course, we will remain flexible and client-focused.