Good news - Business Communication


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Good news - Business Communication

  1. 1. Good News and Neutral News Messages Session -10
  2. 2. Types of Good-News Messages • Positive news messages • Thank you and appreciation messages • Apologies • Routine claims • Routine requests • Order acknowledgments • Credit information messages • Messages extending credit
  3. 3. How can employees build lasting relationships with customers or clients? 1. Thank them regularly for their business 2. Offer them discounts if they order every month or every quarter 3. Provide small “gift with purchase” over a certain amount
  4. 4. Making the Most of Appreciation Messages • Say “thank you” in a timely manner • Avoid exaggerated language that is not believable • Make specific comments for what you are thankful
  5. 5. Examples of Good News Messages  Thank-you messages  Congratulatory messages  Recommendation messages  Inquiries and replies Requests and responses Orders and acknowledgments Routine claims and adjustments
  6. 6. The CBO Approach: A 3 x 4 Plan  Plan a message.  Compose a draft.  Complete a message.
  7. 7. Plan a Message  Identify the objective.  Visualize the audience.  Gather supporting information.  Organize the information.
  8. 8. Compose a Draft  Choose words.  Construct sentences.  Assemble paragraphs.  Choose paragraph locations.
  9. 9. Complete a Message  Proofread.  Edit.  Revise.  Finalize.
  10. 10. Good news and neutral news messages follow the good news strategy.  State the good or neutral news.  Provide adequate details or descriptions.  End pleasantly.
  11. 11. Thank-You Messages  Begin with good news.  Offer extra details.  End with emphasis on the receiver. Thank-you messages maintain friendships and build goodwill.
  12. 12. Congratulatory Messages  Begin by offering congratulations.  Provide extra details reflecting your sincerity.  End with emphasis on the receiver. Congratulatory messages create positive impressions and build goodwill.
  13. 13. Recommendation Messages Identify the candidate and the job or benefit sought. Provide facts relevant to the position or benefit sought. Close with an offer of further information. Recommendation messages provide accurate performance documentation.
  14. 14. Inquiries and Replies Inquiry messages ask the receiver for information.  Begin with a specific question or direct statement.  Include adequate details and additional questions.  End with clear directions for the receiver.
  15. 15. Inquiries and Replies Reply messages answer inquiry messages.  State the good news by answering questions and emphasizing the you attitude.  Include any additional pertinent information.  End with a goodwill statement.
  16. 16. Requests and Responses Request messages ask for information, approval, permission, cooperation, or assistance.  State the major request in the first sentence or subject line.  Make the request clear with additional details.  End courteously and close with an action request.
  17. 17. Requests and Responses Response messages provide opportunities to establish goodwill and promote business.  State the good news first by answering the request.  Include additional pertinent information.  End with a goodwill statement and an action request.
  18. 18. Order messages ask for goods or services. Orders and Acknowledgments  Use direct language.  Give complete details.  Include payment information and shipping instructions, and indicate the desired delivery date.
  19. 19. Orders and Acknowledgments  Indicate product was sent or service approved. State when receipt of merchandise or service is expected.  Describe quality features of the product or service.  Encourage future orders. Acknowledgments provide information on the delivery status and encourage future orders.
  20. 20. Routine Claims and Adjustments  Begin with specific problem statement and request an adjustment.  Give a complete and concise description of claim, including all essential facts.  End courteously with a suggestion for prompt action. Claims provide information about unsatisfactory goods or services.
  21. 21. Routine Claims and Adjustments  Grant the request in a subject line and/or in the first sentence.  Provide the necessary details about the adjustment.  End with a cordial, open invitation for future business. Adjustments explain how and when a routine claim will be resolved positively.
  22. 22. Chapter 6 Delivering Good- and Neutral-News Messages Business Communication, 14e Lehman and DuFrene
  23. 23. CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD LETTERS i) Clear content  Short sentences and paragraphs  Separate ideas or unity of paragraphs  Transitional expressions  Familiar words  Active voice verbs ii) A tone of goodwill Goodwill is a positive feeling the reader has toward an individual or an organization.  Analyze your audience  Emphasize “you” view  Show reader benefit  Avoid discriminatory words  Emphasize positive ideas
  24. 24. Example: We cannot send your order until April 1 iii) Correct Form
  25. 25. DIRECT PATTERN FOR ROUTINE LETTERS  Routine letters communicate straight forward requests, replies and Goodwill messages  Routine letters to outsiders encourage product feedback, project a favorable company image and promote future business. DIRECT REQUEST LETTERS  Requesting information and action  A direct letter may open with a question or a polite request Will you please answer the following questions about your payroll service?
  26. 26.  Questions in a direct letter should be parallel (Balanced grammatically) What computer lock-down device can you recommend?  Direct request letters maintain a courteous tone, spell out what needs to be done, and focus on reader benefits  Appropriate closings: Thanks for returning the questionnaire before May 5, when we will begin tabulation We are grateful for the information you will provide because it will help us serve you better I appreciate for this information that will enable me to ……… Here’s my email address so that you can reach me quickly.
  27. 27. REQUESTS AND RESPONSES You expect the readers responses to be positive or neutral so you don’t need special techniques to convince, to soften bad news or to be tactful. Organize your message into the following three parts:  Opening: A statement that announces the purpose immediately  Body: Details that explain the purpose  Closing: A request for action or a courteous conclusion
  28. 28. Indirect Opening Direct Opening Our company is experiencing difficulties in retaining employees. We also need help in screening job applicants. Our current testing program is unsatisfactory. I understand that you offer employees testing materials , and I have a number of questions to ask. Please answer the following questions about your personnel testing material
  29. 29. PLACING ORDERS These letters order supplies, merchandise or services In the opening, let the reader know immediately that this is a purchase authorization and not nearly an information inquiry In the body supply the following information : Order number  Specification or particulars of items or services  Complete descriptions  Quantities  Prices - Unit price or total price  Payment method
  30. 30. Sample opening: Please send me by UPS the following items from your fall merchandise catalog In the closing, discuss payment mode- enclose the cheque, provide the credit card number or ask to be billed. Mention date and express appreciation
  31. 31. CLAIM LETTERS In business many things may go wrong- promised shipment are late, warranted goods fail or service is disappointing As a customer you must try to identify or correct a wrong, the letter is called a claim Claim letters open with a clear problem statement, support the claim with specifics and close with a statement of goodwill. Please send us 24 Royal hot-air popcorn poppers to replace the 24 hot-oil poppers sent in error with our order shipped January 4 In the body explain the problem and justify your request. Do not adopt an angry tone
  32. 32. When an alternative remedy exists, spell it out If you are unable to send 24 Royal hot-air popcorn poppers immediately please credit our account now and notify us when they become available Conclude a claim letter with a courteous statement that promotes goodwill and expresses a desire for continued relation. If appropriate, include an end date. We realize that mistakes in ordering and shipping sometimes occur. Because we have enjoyed your prompt service in the past, we hope that you will be able to send us the hot-air poppers by January 15
  33. 33. GRANTING CLAIMS AND MAKING ADJUSTMENTS Adjustment letters:  Replace merchandize  Refund money  Extend discount  Send coupons and repair goods Are written for the following reasons:  Legal constraints  Customer satisfaction  Future business  Company goodwill
  34. 34. The message plan: Body Closing Opening Directness for Routine Inquiries • Begin directly with the objective. – Either ask a specific question or – make a general request for the information. • Include any necessary explanation-- wherever it fits (as a separate part of the message or worked in with the questions). • If a number of questions are involved, give them structure. – May number them. – Make them stand out. • End with goodwill words--something appropriate that fits the one case.
  35. 35. Dear Mr. Crifasi: Will you please help us to serve you better by answering the following questions. When you returned merchandise at our store recently: 1. Were you served promptly and courteously? 2. Was the adjustment satisfactory and in accordance with your wishes? 3. Did the salesperson offer to assist you in selecting other merchandise? Please write your answers--and any other comments you may wish to make about the service of this store and any other Hobson store--on this letter. Then return it in the enclosed stamped and addressed envelope. We shall be most grateful for your help. Sincerely, Routine Inquiry--Good Example
  36. 36. Dear Ms. Brown: Will you please send me an itemized statement covering my account for January. According to my invoice file, the amount owed should be $2,374.27. Your statement shows $2,833.74 owed. Perhaps you did not record the $427.17 of merchandise returned on invoice no. 3211C late last week. But even this possible error does not explain all of the difference. I shall appreciate your usual promptness in clearing up this matter. Jane Adami, President Two Sisters Antiques Itemized statement for January Itemized … Date: Tue, 17 Nov 2005 09:11:15 –0800(PST) From: To: Sarah Brown <> Subject: Confidential report on Ms. Cindy Commons, requested July 2 [Jane Adami, 11:17 AM 11/17/2005 –0800, Confidential report on Ms. Cindy Commons, requested July 2]
  37. 37. Inquiries About People • They are a special form of routine inquiry. • They involve two differences: –Need to respect human rights –Need to structure around the one job
  38. 38. • Begin directly--with a general question seeking information, or with a specific question. • Explain the situation. Cover the questions systematically, including explanations, as needed. Body Closing Opening Thus the plan for this message becomes the following:
  39. 39. Dear Mr. Bateman: Will you please assist me in evaluating Ms. Alice Barron for work as a district sales manager with us. In her application Ms. Barron indicated that she worked for you as a salesperson from early 2001 to 2005. She has authorized this inquiry. The work for which we are considering Ms. Barron involves supervision a staff of four salespeople plus an office staff of two. While with you, did Ms. Barron show the leadership ability such an assignment requires? As a manger, Ms. Barron would need to know administration. She would be responsible for running the business end of an office. Do you feel she has the necessary knowledge and ability? Ms. Barron would also be responsible for managing the sales efforts in her district--activities like setting quotas, working out itineraries, evaluating performance, and coordinating and Recommendation for Alice Barron 6-
  40. 40. Both Ms. Barron and I will appreciate your candid replies to these questions, plus any other information you feel we should have. Of course, I will hold your comments in strict confidence. Janet Baker, Manager Human Resources Department Ms. Barron would also be responsible for managing the sales efforts in her district--activities like setting quotas, working out itineraries, evaluating performance, and coordinating and stimulating sales efforts. Does she have the ability to do these things? In addition to the managerial duties, Ms. Barron would spend some time selling Kopy Kat equipment. This is hard selling--and it requires an aggressive, personable, hardworking person. Does Ms. Barron meet this requirement? Recommendation for Alice Barron
  41. 41. Preliminary Considerations in Writing a Favorable Response • You are complying with the reader’s request. • The news is good. • Thus, directness is justified.
  42. 42. The message plan: Directness for a Favorable Response • Begin with the answer or state you are complying with the request. • Identify the message being answered-- incidentally in the beginning or in a subject line. • Continue to give what is wanted in an orderly arrangement. • If negative information is involved, give it proper emphasis. Consider including extras. • End with friendly, adapted words. Body Closing Opening
  43. 43. Dear Sir: We are in receipt of your favor of April 12 in which you request that we furnish you a copy of our current Baton Rouge directory with certain notations and emendations. In reply I wish to assure you that we are very much interested in your proposed online directory of Louisiana manufacturers and believe it is a project which should be supported by Louisiana industry in every possible way. In order to ascertain whether or not a particular manufacturer listed in our directory is a producer or is only the sales agent for goods manufactured outside the State, it will be obviously necessary for us to put a responsible and capable clerk on the Indirect Approach and Grudging Tone Produce Negative Effect (1 of 2)
  44. 44. assignment to contact by telephone each manufacturer listed and to request information direct as to his classification and the nature of his operations. We are quite willing to do this, despite our own manpower shortage, in order to further your project, and in fact we have already selected the man and assigned his duties to him. He will start to work at an early date, and we will notify you in due course as to his progress. Assuming you of our continued interest, and trusting that you will not hesitate to call on us in the future at any time we may be of service to you in any way, we are Sincerely, Indirect Approach and Grudging Tone Produce Negative Effect (2 of 2)
  45. 45. Manufacturers’ Directory Assistance Mr. Andrews: Yes, sir, we’ll gladly help with your manufacturers’ directory, just as you have asked in your April 12 message. To get the names and classifications up to the “directory” exactness, Mr. Stanley McLaughlin, of our own directory staff, has already started a by-name check of each listed industry. He will label carefully the exact goods produced or processed; and he will mark the sales agents as such. You can expect his report by the 20th, I’m sure. Your completed online directory will certainly help Louisiana industry get a measure of itself and will help to “sell” Louisiana as a ripe field for many types of new enterprises. It’s a fine job you are taking on. We’ll be glad to see the finished product. Lisa Brown
  46. 46. Preliminary Considerations in Writing a Personnel Evaluation • You are giving the reader what he or she wants. • Thus, directness is justified.
  47. 47. The message plan: Directness for a Personnel Evaluation • Begin directly by –saying that you are complying. –answering a question. • Refer to the inquiry either incidentally or in a subject line. • Report fairly and accurately –arranging the information Body Closing Opening
  48. 48. Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2005 09:11:15 –0600(PST) From: Chris Woods<> To: Subject: Confidential report on Ms. Cindy Commons, requested July 2 Mr. Villas: From December 2002 through February 2005, Ms. Commons worked for Central Grocery, Inc., under my direction. She left us for employment in her hometown. We would welcome her back. While she was with us, she served first as a stock clerk, later as a checkout cashier, and for the last year as my assistant. During this time she learned all aspects of the grocery business. In my judgment, she has the experience and knowledge needed for the job she seeks. Confidential … Confidential report on Ms. Cindy Commons, requested July 2 I feel, also, that Ms. Commons has the personal qualities the job requires. She is mature, stable, and personable. She has strong convictions and expresses them firmly-- sometimes at the expense of harmony within the work group. But she is also sincere and open-minded. As far as I know, her morals are exemplary. [Chris Woods, 09:11 AM 4/9/2005 –0800, Confidential report on Ms. Cindy Commons, requested July 2]
  49. 49. In summary, I feel that Ms. Commons is well qualified for the work she seeks. I would not hesitate to put her in a similar position in this company. If I can help you further in your evaluation Ms. Commons, please write me again. Christopher Woods, Manager Human Resources Central Grocery Confidential … Confidential report on Ms. Cindy Commons, requested July 2 Answering your question about Ms. Commons’ leadership ability is somewhat difficult for her work with us was primarily in a subordinate position. But from what I have observed, I feel that she has good leadership potential. She appears to like people and to have a genuine concern for them. And she appears to have other characteristics of good leadership--a sense of fairness, good communication ability, loyalty, and dedication to work. [Chris Woods, 09:11 AM 4/9/2005 –0800, Confidential report on Ms. Cindy Commons, requested July 2]
  50. 50. Preliminary Considerations in Writing an Adjustment Grant (1 of 2) • The news is good. • Something bad has happened, and you are correcting it. • But even though the main message is good news, you have the need to regain lost confidence.
  51. 51. The message plan: Directness for an Adjustment Grant • Begin directly--with the good news. • Incidentally identify the message you are answering. • Avoid negatives that recall the situation being corrected. • Regain lost confidence through explanation or corrective action. • End with friendly positive words. Body Closing Opening
  52. 52. Mr. McShane: Crediting your account for $321.40 is Consort’s way of assuring you that your satisfaction is very important to us. Because we sincerely want to please, we thoroughly examined the suit you returned to us. Our investigation showed that the likely cause of the fading was accidental contact with some form of chemical. We couldn’t determine precisely what the chemical was or just how contact was made. But we suspect a liquid spill sometime after packaging, either in our warehouse or during shipment. Such unexpected happenings will occur in spite of our best precautions. Anyway, we were relieved to know that Consort’s reputation for quality fabrics and craftsmanship remains good. We want you to know that we sincerely desire to serve you. And we look forward to serving you with high-quality Consort suits in the years ahead. Albert T. Hamm, Manager Consumer Relations Full credit for suit from Consort [Albert T. Hamm, 07:12 PM 6/20/2005 –0800, Full credit for suit from Consort] Full credit from…
  53. 53. Preliminary Considerations in Writing an Order Acknowledgment • You have received an order. • Now you must report the status of the order. • The situation is good news-- routine in business. • Thus, directness is justified.
  54. 54. The message plan: Directness for an Order Acknowledgment • Give the status of order. • Include some goodwill— acknowledging incidentally, reselling, sales talk, or such. • Include a “thank you.” • If there is a problem (vague order, back order)-- – Some businesses report frankly, assuming some problems are Body Closing Opening
  55. 55. Trevor Hardware… Mr. Cotton: By the time you receive this letter, you should have received the assorted pipe you ordered July 15. As you requested we shipped it by Zephyr Freight, and we will bill you on the first. As you may know, the J-4 Kotter Pipe Joint Clamps have been a very popular item recently. We have marked these clamps for rush shipment to you just as soon as our supplies are replenished. Our plant foreman tells me that his people are working overtime to catch up. He promises that we will have the clamps on the way to you no later than August 12. Thank you for giving us another opportunity to serve you with quality Kotter products. Krystal Benko Office Manager [Krystal Benko, 03:17 PM 8/3/2005 –0800, Trevor Hardware Order Confirmation] Trevor Hardware Order Confirmation
  56. 56. Justifying Directness in Claims • The reader wants to know. • Directness lends strength.
  57. 57. Preliminary Considerations in Writing a Claim Letter • A product or service has given you a problem. –You are in the right. –Probably the offending company will want to correct the matter. –You want to make a strong claim. • These three facts of the case support directness.
  58. 58. The message plan: Directness for a Claim Letter • Begin directly. Tell what is wrong. • Include all necessary facts in the text or in a subject line. • Explain the facts—enough to permit a decision. • Seek corrective action, either by – stating what you want, or – letting the reader decide what to do. • End positively—on a friendly but firm note. Body Closing Opening
  59. 59. Ms. Ott: From your invoice of August 7, I see that you have sent my gifts C.O.D. I need your friendly help in restoring face. Wrong billing of shipment under Invoice X13771 Please correct this embarrassing error right away. I ask that you write each of the recipients of my gifts, refunding their money and explaining what happened. Then send copies of your letters and the total bill to me. You have my grateful thanks for putting me back in the good graces of the Bannisters. Helen Toohey Please refer to my original order of July 31 (copy attached) to see that the Madam Butterfly jewel box for Ms. Mary Ellen Bannister and the Piper smoking jacket for Mr. Collis Bannister were clearly specified for prepaid shipment. You were to include the bill for these items in the C.O.D. shipment of the Black Diamond desk sent to me. ORDER731.DOC [Helen Toohey, 09:17 AM 9/17/2005 –0800, Wrong billing of shipment under Invoice X13771]