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Business response letter format

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Business response letter format
March 31, 2019 Anniversary Wishes For Parents No comments

It's important to know how to address a business letter properly, especially if you' re expecting a reply. This section includes your complete.

If your job involves business correspondence, then you certainly write request letters, occasionally or on a regular basis. This could be a job request, promotion or meeting requests, request for information or referral, favor letter or character reference. Such letters are difficult to write and even more difficult to write in such a way that encourages recipients to respond willingly and enthusiastically.

As to request for money letters, all sorts of sponsorship, donation, or fundraising requests, you would agree that it often requires a miracle to get a response : ) Of course, I cannot guarantee that our tips and letter samples you will do the miracle, but they will definitely save you some time and make your writing job less painful.

Time-saving tip! If you are communicating by email, then you can save even more time by adding all these sample business letters directly to your Outlook. And then you will be able to insert any sample into the message you are composing or replying to with a mouse click!

All it takes is the Outlook Template Phrases plug-in that you can see in the screenshot on the right. Once you have it installed, you won't have to type the same phrases over and over again.

Just double click the template on the plug-in's pane and find the text inserted in the message body in a moment. All your formatting, hyperlinks, images and signatures will be in place!

Don't hesitate to check it out right now; a fully-functional 15-day evaluation version is available for download.

Well, back to writing business letters, further on in the article you will find:

Business letter format

A business letter is a formal way of communication and that is why it requires a special format. You may not care of the letter format too much if you are sending an e-mail, but if you are writing a traditional paper business letter, the below recommendations may prove helpful. It is considered a good practice to print out a business letter on standard 8.5" x 11" (215.9 mm x 279.4 mm) white paper.

  1. Sender's Address. Usually you start by typing your own address. In British English, the sender's address is usually written in the top right corner of the letter. In American English, the sender's address is placed in the top left corner.

    You needn't write the sender's name or title, as it is included in the letter's closing. Type only the street address, city, and zip code and optionally, phone number and email address.

    If you are writing on stationery with a letterhead, then skip this.

  2. Date. Type a date a few lines below the letterhead or return address. The standard is 2-3 lines (one to four lines are acceptable).
  3. Reference Line (optional). If your letter is related to some specific information, such as a job reference or invoice number, add it below the date. If you are replying to a letter, refer to it. For example,
    • Re: Invoice # 000987
    • Re: Your letter dated 4/1/2014
  4. On-Arrival Notices (optional). If you want to include a notation on private or confidential correspondence, type it below the reference line in uppercase, if appropriate. For example, PERSONAL or CONFIDENTIAL.
  5. Inside Address. This is the address of the recipient of your business letter, an individual or a company. It is always best to write to a specific person at the company to which you are writing.

    The standard is 2 lines below the previous item you typed, one to six lines are acceptable.

  6. Attention Line (optional). Type the name of the person whom you're trying to reach. If you wrote the person's name in the Inside Address, skip the Attention Line.
  7. Salutation. Use the same name as the inside address, including the title. If you know the person you are writing to and usually address them by the first name, you can type the first name in the salutation, for example: Dear Jane. In all other cases, it is a common practice to address a person with the personal title and last name followed by a comma or colon, for example:
    • Mr. Brown:
    • Dear Dr. Brown:
    • Dear Ms. Smith,

    If you do not know the recipient's name or are not sure how to spell it, use one of the following salutations:

    • Ladies
    • Gentlemen
    • Dear Sir
    • Dear Sir or Madam
    • To Whom it May Concern
  8. Subject Line (optional): Leave two or three blank lines after the salutation and type the gist of your letter in uppercase, either alighted left or centered. If you have added the Reference Line (3), the Subject line may be redundant. Here are a few examples:
    • LETTER OF REFERENCE
    • COVER LETTER
    • REQUEST FOR PRODUCT REPLACEMENT
    • JOB INQUIRY
  9. Body. This is the main part of your letter, usually consisting of 2 - 5 paragraphs, with a blank line between each paragraph. In the first paragraph, write a friendly opening and then state your main point. In the next few paragraphs, provided background information and supporting details. Finally, write the closing paragraph where you restate the purpose of the letter and request some action, if applicable. See tips on writing persuasive business letters for more details.
  10. Closing. As you know, there are a few generally accepted complementary closes. Which one you choose depends on the tone of your letter. For example,
    • Respectfully yours (very formal)
    • Sincerely or Kind regards or Yours truly (most useful closings in business letters)
    • Best regards, Cordially yours (slightly more personal and friendly)

    The closing is typically typed at the same vertical point as the date and one line after the last body paragraph. Capitalize the first word only and leave three or four lines between the closing and the signature block. If the salutation is followed by a colon, add a comma after the closing; otherwise, no punctuation after the closing is required.

  11. Signature. As a rule, a signature comes four blank lines after the Complimentary Close. Type your name below a signature and add a title, if needed.
  12. Enclosures. This line tells the recipient what other documents, such as a resume, are enclosed with your letter. The common styles follow below:
    • Encl.
    • Attach.
    • Enclosures: 2
    • Enclosures (2)
  13. Typist Initials (optional). This component is used to indicate the person who typed the letter for you. If you typed the letter yourself, omit this. Usually the identification initials include three of your initials in uppercase, then two or three of the typist's in lowercase. For example, JAM/dmc, JAM:cm. But this component is quite rarely used these days, in very formal business letters.

    Below you can see a properly formatted sample donation letter. It's always easier to understand from examples, isn't it?

10 tips to write persuasive request letters

Below you will find 10 strategies to write your request letters in such a way that they convince your reader to respond or act.

  1. Know your addressee. Before you start composing you request letter, ask yourself these questions. Who is my reader and how exactly can they help me? Are they decision makers or will they just pass along my request to a senior officer? Both the style and contents of your request letter will depend on the reader's position.
  2. Do not be verbose. Be clear, brief and to the point. A rule of a thumb is this - don't use two words when one would suffice. Just remember the famous quote by Mark Twain - "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead". A person in his position could afford that, and… he was not requesting anything : )
  3. Make your letter easy to read. When writing a request letter, don't digress and don't confuse your reader by drifting off your main point. Avoid long, crammed sentences and paragraphs because they are intimidating and hard to digest. Use simple, declarative sentences instead and break long sentences with commas, colons and semicolons. Start a new paragraph when you change a thought or idea.

    Here's a very poor example of a cover letter:
    "In every regard, my qualifications appear to be consistent with the desires expressed by your advertisement and based on the voice of your company's blogs, I really think that I was meant to be a [Position] in your company."

    And this is a good one:
    "I have good skills and experience in [Your area of expertise] and I would be most grateful if you consider me for any suitable position."

    Remember, if your request letter looks easy to read, it has a better chance to be read!

  4. Add call to action. Put action in your request letters wherever is possible. The easiest way is to use action verbs and the active voice rather than passive.
  5. Convince but do not demand. Do not treat your addressees as if they owe you something. Instead, catch the reader's attention by mentioning common ground and emphasize the benefits of acting.
  6. Do not be burdensome. Give readers all the information needed and tell what exactly you want them to do. Simplify the job for the person to respond - include contact information, direct phone numbers, give links or attach files, whatever is appropriate
  7. Write in a friendly way and appeal to the reader's feelings. Though you are writing a business letter, don't be superfluously businesslike. Friendly letters make friends, so write your request letters in a friendly way as if you are talking to your real friend or an old acquaintance. We are all humans, and it may be a good idea to appeal to humanity, generosity, or sympathy of your correspondent.
  8. Remain polite and professional. Even if you are writing an order cancellation request or complaint letter, remain polite and courteous, simply state the issue(s), provide all relevant information and be sure to avoid threats and calumny.
  9. Mind your grammar! Rephrasing a well-known saying - "grammar counts for first impressions". Poor grammar like poor manners may spoil everything, so be sure to proofread all business letters you send.
  10. Review before sending. When you have finished composing the letter, read it aloud. If your key point is not crystal clear, write it over. It's better to invest some time in re-writing and get a response, than make it fast and have your letter thrown away in a bin straight away.

And finally, if you've got a response to your request letter or the desired action is taken, don't forget to thank the person. Here you can find sample thank you letters for all occasions.

Samples of request letters

Below you will find a few examples of request letters for different occasions.

Sample letter of recommendation request

Dear Mr. Brown:

I hope you are doing well. I have warm memories of your remarkable leadership and support for teachers during my employment at XYZ High School.

Presently, I am applying to XYZ school district and am required to submit three letters of recommendation. I am writing to ask if you would write a letter of recommendation on my behalf.

I would like to provide you with some background information that may assist you, should you decide to write this letter <your background information>.

Attached, you will find a copy of my most recent résumé. Please feel free to contact me if you need any additional information. I look forward to hearing from you, and I thank you in advance for your time.

Request for information

Thank you for submitting your resume in response to the <position> we advertised. In addition to your resume, we also need three references and a list of past employers for the past three years, along with their phone numbers.

Our policy is to thoroughly review the background of each candidate in order to select the most suitable person for this job.

Thank you for your assistance. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Request for character reference

<Applicant> has applied with our company for a position in our <department>. He / she has given your name as a character reference. Would you be kind enough to provide us with your written evaluation of this person.

Please rest assured that your response will be treated with confidentiality. Thank you in advance.

Donation request

I am sending this to you as a fellow member of our community. I'm sure that you value living in such a quiet and peaceful neighborhood, just like I do.

You know, sometimes in order to keep one's community quiet and peaceful one has to take action. As you may know, our local Community Committee has been meeting over the past two months to try to find ways to reduce the break-in rate in our area. Last week they released their recommendations on how best to combat that problem.

Their primary recommendation calls for increased police and security patrols to supplement the local Neighborhood Watch program. Unfortunately, the needed amount is not included in this year's municipal budget allocation.

Therefore, as a concerned member of this community I have decided that my business will donate $ for every $ raised in the community to cover the additional security costs. I urge you to join me today in supporting this worthy cause for our common good.

To make your donation today you can drop in to either one of our two stores and deposit your donation in the boxes provided near the front cashes. If you can't make it to the store, please send a check or money order, made out to "XYZ" and mail it to the address listed above.

Thank you in advance.

Requesting a favor

I am writing you to ask you for a favor that I hope you could do for me.

In less than three months I will be taking the <Examination>, with the hope to enter the <University or College>, where they have the best graduate school program for the course that I am interested in.

The school places an extremely high emphasis on a student's success in the exam, which is why I feel extremely pressured to get an above average score on the Graduate Record Examination.

Because you recently graduated with a degree in <science>, you are naturally the first person I thought of when considering who I could approach to assist me. I am not asking for too much time, I would really appreciate any pointers you could give me and a few lessons on the <sections>, which I feel are my weakest points.

I hope that you will give me a positive response. Thank you in advance.

Request for product return / replacement

On <date> I placed an order for the <product>, received it on <date>. I have discovered that the purchased product has the following problem: <add details>

Since the product you delivered is not of satisfactory quality <is not fit for the purpose>, I am entitled to have it <repaired / replaced> and I would request that you confirm that you will do this within the next seven days. I also require you to confirm whether you will arrange for the <item> to be collected or will reimburse me for the cost of returning it.

I look forward to receiving your satisfactory proposals for settlement of my claim within seven days of the date of this letter.

*****

And this is all for today. Hopefully, this information will help you compose properly formatted business letter in general and persuasive request letters in particular, and always get the desired response. Thank you for reading!

You may also be interested in:

A letter of response is written as an answer to any complaint of disconnection, while admitting fault, regarding denial of a liability, refusal of an adjustment, to a.

FREE Sample Response Letters

business response letter format

Here are simple tips, templates and examples for writing good complaints letters. This approach to complaints letter-writing is effective for private consumers and for business-to-business customers who seek positive outcomes from writing letters of complaint. The principles apply to complaints emails and phone calls too, although letters remain generally the most reliable and effective way to complain, especially for serious complaints.

Imagine you are the person receiving customers' letters of complaints. This helps you realise that the person reading your letter is a real human being with feelings, trying to do their job to the best of their abilities. Your letter should encourage them to respond positively and helpfully to the complaint. No matter how mad you feel, aggression and confrontation does not encourage a helpful reaction to complaints.

Good complaints letters with the above features tend to produce better outcomes:

These complaints methods are based on cooperation, relationships, constructive problem-solving, and are therefore transferable to phone and face-to-face complaints.

(Please note that UK English tends to prefer the spelling ISE in words such as apologise, organise, etc., whereas US English prefers IZE. Obviously in your letters use the appropriate spelling for your particular audience.)

Additional UK Consumer Protection Regulations became effective on 26 May 2008.

Whether you are are complaining as a consumer or responding to consumer complaints, these far-reaching new regulations which might affect your position.

Here is a summary of these regulations and their implications.


Concise letters

We all receive too many communications these days, especially letters. People in complaints departments receive more letters than most, and cannot read every letter fully. The only letters that are read fully are the most concise, clear, compact letters. Letters that ramble or are vague will not be read properly. So it's simple - to be acted upon, first your letter must be read. To be read your letter must be concise. A concise letter of complaint must make its main point in less than five seconds. The complaint letter may subsequently take a few more seconds to explain the situation, but first the main point must be understood in a few seconds.

Structuring the letter is important. Think in terms of the acronym AIDA - attention, interest, desire, action. This is the fundamental process of persuasion. It's been used by the selling profession for fifty years or more. It applies to letters of complaints too, which after all, are letters of persuasion. The complaint letter attempts to persuade the reader to take action.

Structure your letter so that you include a heading - which identifies the issue and name of product, service, person, location, with code or reference number if applicable.

Then state the simple facts, with relevant dates and details.

Next state what you'd like to happen - a positive request for the reader to react to.

Include also, (as a sign-off point is usually best), something complimentary about the organization and/or its products, service, or people. For example:

"I've long been a user of your products/services and up until now have always regarded you are an excellent supplier/organization. I have every faith therefore that you will do what you can to rectify this situation."

Even if you are very angry, it's always important to make a positive, complimentary comment. It will make the reader and the organization more inclined to 'want' to help you. More about this below.

If the situation is very complex with a lot of history, it's a good idea to keep the letter itself very short and concise, and then append or attach the details, in whatever format is appropriate (photocopies, written notes, explanation, etc). This enables the reader of the letter to understand the main point of the complaint, and then to process it, without having to read twenty pages of history and detail.

The main point is, do not bury your main points in a long letter about the problem. Make your main points first in a short letter, and attach the details.

Authoritative complaints letters have credibility and carry more weight

An authoritative letter is especially important for serious complaints or one with significant financial implications. What makes a letter authoritative? Professional presentation, good grammar and spelling, firmness and clarity. Using sophisticated words (providing they are used correctly) - the language of a broadsheet newspaper rather than a tabloid - can also help to give your letter a more authoritative impression. What your letter looks like, its presentation, language and tone, can all help to establish your credibility - that you can be trusted and believed, that you know your facts, and that you probably have a point.

So think about your letter layout - if writing as a private consumer use a letterhead preferably - ensure the name and address details of the addressee are correct, include the date, keep it tidy, well-spaced, and print your name under your signature.

If you copy the letter to anyone show that this has been done (normally by using the abbreviation 'c.c.' with the names of copy letter recipients and their organizations if appropriate, beneath the signature.) If you attach other pages of details or photocopies, or enclose anything else such as packaging, state so on the letter (normally by using the abbreviation 'enc.' the foot of the page).

When people read letters, rightly or wrongly they form an impression about the writer, which can affect response and attitude. Writing a letter that creates an authoritative impression is therefore helpful.


Complaints letters must include all the facts

In the organization concerned, you need someone at some stage to decide a course of action in response to your letter, that will resolve your complaint. For any complaint of reasonable significance, the solution will normally involve someone committing organizational resources or cost. Where people commit resources or costs there needs to be proper accountability and justification. This is generally because organizations of all sorts are geared to providing a return on investment. Resolving your complaint will involve a cost or 'investment' of some sort, however small, which needs justifying. If there's insufficient justification, the investment needed to solve the problem cannot be committed. So ensure you provide the relevant facts, dates, names, and details, clearly. Make sure you include all the necessary facts that will justify why your complaint should resolved (according to your suggestion assuming you make one).

But be brief and concise. Not chapter and verse. Just the key facts, especially dates and reference numbers.

For example:

"The above part number 1234 was delivered to xyz address on 00/00/00 date and developed abc fault on 00/00/00 date..."


Constructive letters and suggestions make complaints easier to resolve

Accentuate the positive wherever possible. This means presenting things in a positive light. Dealing with a whole load of negative statements is not easy for anyone, especially customer service staff, who'll be dealing with mostly negative and critical communication all day. Be different by being positive and constructive. State the facts and then suggest what needs to be done to resolve matters. If the situation is complex, suggest that you'll be as flexible as you can in helping to arrive at a positive outcome. Say that you'd like to find a way forward, rather than terminate the relationship. If you tell them that you're taking your business elsewhere, and that you're never using them again, etc., then there's little incentive for them to look for a good outcome. If you give a very negative, final, 'unsavable' impression, they'll treat you accordingly. Suppliers of all sorts work harder for people who stay loyal and are prepared to work through difficulties, rather than jump ship whenever there's a problem. Many suppliers and organizations actually welcome complaints as opportunities to improve (which they should do) - if yours does, or can be persuaded to take this view, it's very well worth sticking with them and helping them to find a solution. So it helps to be seen as a positive and constructive customer rather than a negative, critical one. It helps for your complaint to be seen as an opportunity to improve things, rather than an arena for confrontation and divorce.


Write letters with a friendly and complimentary tone

It may be surprising to some, but threatening people generally does not produce good results.

This applies whether you are writing, phoning or meeting face-to-face.

A friendly complimentary approach encourages the other person to reciprocate - they'll want to return your faith, build the relationship, and keep you as a loyal customer or user of their products or services. People like helping nice friendly people. People do not find it easy to help nasty people who attack them.

This is perhaps the most important rule of all when complaining. Be kind to people and they will be kind to you. Ask for their help - it's really so simple - and they will want to help you.

Contrast a friendly complimentary complaint letter with a complaint letter full of anger and negativity: readers of angry bitter letters are not naturally inclined to want to help - they are more likely to retreat, make excuses, defend, or worse still to respond aggressively or confrontationally. It's human nature.

Also remember that the person reading the letter is just like you - they just want to do a good job, be happy, to get through the day without being upset. What earthly benefit will you get by upsetting them? Be nice to people. Respect their worth and motives. Don't transfer your frustration to them personally - they've not done anything to upset you. They are there to help. The person reading the letter is your best ally - keep them on your side and they will do everything they can to resolve the problem - it's their job.

Try to see things from their point of view. Take the trouble to find out how they work and what the root causes of the problems might be.

This friendly approach is essential as well if you cannot resist the urge to pick up the phone and complain. Remember that the person at the other end is only trying to do their job, and that they can only work within the policy that has been issued to them. Don't take it out on them - it's not their fault.

In fact, complaints are best and quickest resolved if you take the view that it's nobody's fault. Attaching blame causes defensiveness - the barriers go up and conflict develops.

Take an objective view - it's happened, for whatever reason; it can't be undone, now let's find out how it can best be resolved. Try to take a cooperative, understanding, objective tone. Not confrontational; instead you and them both looking at the problem from the same side.

If you use phrases like - "I realise that mistakes happen..."; "I'm not blaming anyone...."; "I'm sure this is a rare problem...", your letter (or phone call) will be seen as friendly, non-threatening, and non-confrontational. This relaxes the person at the other end, and makes them more inclined to help you, because you are obviously friendly and reasonable.

The use of humour often works wonders if your letter is to a senior person. Humour dissipates conflict, and immediately attracts attention because it's different. A bit of humour in a complaint letter also creates a friendly, intelligent and cooperative impression. Senior people dealing with complaints tend to react on a personal level, rather than a procedural level, as with customer services departments. If you brighten someone's day by raising a smile there's a good chance that your letter will be given favourable treatment.

Returning faulty products

Check contracts, receipts, invoices, packaging, etc., for collection and return procedures and follow them.

When complaining, particularly about expensive items, it's not helpful to undermine your position by failing to follow any reasonable process governing faulty or incorrect products. You may even end up with liability for the faulty product if the supplier is able to claim that you've been negligent in some way.

For certain consumer complaints it's helpful to return packaging, as this enables the organization to check production records and correct problems if still present. If in doubt phone the customer services department to find out what they actually need you to return.

Product returns for business-to-business complaints will initially be covered by the supplier's terms and conditions of sale. Again take care not to create a liability for yourself by failing to follow reasonable processes, (for example leaving a computer out in the yard in the pouring rain by way of incentive for the supplier to collect, is not generally a tactic bound to produce a successful outcome).

Use recorded and insured post where appropriate.

Complaints letter template


name and address (eg., for the customer services department, or CEO)

date

Dear Sir or Madam (or name)

heading with relevant reference numbers

(Optional, especially if writing to a named person) ask for the person's help, eg "I'd really appreciate your help with this."

State facts of situation, including dates, names, reference numbers, but keep this very concise and brief (append details, history, photocopies if applicable, for example if the situation is very complex and has a long history).

State your suggested solution. If the situation and solution is complex, state also that you'll be as flexible as you can to come to an agreed way forward.

(Optional, and normally worth including) state some positive things about your normal experience with the organization concerned, for example: that you've no wish to go elsewhere and hope that a solution can be found; compliment any of their people who have given good service; compliment their products and say that normally you are very happy with things.

State that you look forward to hearing from them soon and that you appreciate their help.

Yours faithfully (if not sent to a named person) or sincerely (if sent to a named person)

Your signature

Your printed name (and title/position if applicable)

c.c. (plus names and organizations, if copying the letter to anyone)

enc. (if enclosing something, such as packaging or attachments)


Complain by phone - or write a letter of complaint?

Obviously if a situation needs resolving urgently you must phone, but that's different to complaining. When something goes wrong the the temptation is often to get on the phone straight away, and give someone 'a piece of your mind' about whatever has disappointed or annoyed you, but phoning to complain in this way is rarely a good idea. This is because:

  • 'Heat of the moment' complaints almost always produce confrontation, emotion, and misunderstanding, which are not conducive to the cooperation necessary for good solutions and outcomes.
  • For organizations to handle complaints properly they need to be able to deal with facts and written records. Written details are essential to their complaints processing, and a letter is a far more reliable way of communicating these things than a verbal phone exchange.
  • You will need a your own record of the complaint to establish accountability, responsibility, that you have actually complained, when you complained, and to whom. Telephone conversations do not automatically create a record. With a phone complaint there is nothing for you to refer back to; no copies can be produced when and if you need to follow up the complaint.
  • A letter gives you the chance to present your case in the best possible way. Telephone conversations can quickly get out of control.
  • Writing a letter helps you to calm down and do things properly. Calling people immediately on the phone often fuels your emotions, especially if the person at the other end isn't good at handling you. When you lose control of your emotions you lose control of the situation, your credibility, clarity, cooperation, goodwill and objectivity; all of which you need if you want to achieve the best possible outcome.
  • For very serious matters you should be using recorded or registered post, which effectively guarantees that your letter reaches the recipient. There is of course no equivalent by telephone.

Where should you send letters of complaints?

If the organization has a customer services department at their head office this is the first place to start. The department will be geared up to dealing with complaints letters, and your complaint should be processed quickly with the others they'll receive because that's the job of a customer services department. This is especially the case for large organizations. Sending initial complaints letters to managing directors and CEO's will only be referred by their PA staff to the customer services department anyway, with the result of immediately alienating the customer services staff, because you've 'gone over their heads'.

The trick of sending a copy letter to the CEO - and showing this on the letter to the customer services department - is likely to have the same effect. Keep your powder dry until you need it.

You can generally find the address of the customer services department on (where appropriate) product packaging, invoices, websites, and other advertising and communications materials produced by the organization concerned. Local branches, if applicable, will also have the details.

If your complaint is one which has not been satisfactorily resolved by the normal customer services or complaints department, then you should refer the matter upwards, and ultimately, when you've run out of patience, to the top - the company CEO or MD.

The higher the level of the person you are writing to, the more need to make your letter clear, concise, authoritative, etc. When referring complaints upwards always attach copies of previous correspondence.

If departmental managers and functional directors fail to give you satisfaction, get the top person's name and address from the customer services department. If this is not possible, call the organization's head office and ask for the Chief Executive's PA. Very large organizations will often have a whole team that looks after the CEO's correspondence, so don't worry if you can't speak to the PA her/himself - all you need at this stage is the name and address of the person at the top. You don't need to give a reason for writing, and you certainly don't need to go into detail about the complaint itself because the person you'll be speaking with won't be responsible for dealing with it. Just say: "I'm writing to the Chief Executive - would you give me the name and address please?" And that's all you say. Only the most clandestine organization will refuse to give the details you need (in which case forget about complaining and find another supplier).

Where to complain if the person at the top fails to satisfy your complaint

If you have exhausted all avenues of complaint at the organization itself, and you are determined not to let matters go, you must then find the appropriate higher authority or regulatory body.

However, first sit down and think hard about whether your complaint and expectations are realistic. If you are too emotional about things to be objective, ask a friend or colleague for their interpretation. If you decide that you truly are getting a raw deal, next think seriously about whether to forget it - to take the FIDO approach (forget it and drive on) - for the sake of your own peace of mind. Some battles just aren't worth the fight. Could the energy you'd use in pursuing the complaint be better used to resolving the situation in a different way? Plenty of people spend lots of time and money pursuing a complaint, which they win in the end, but which costs them too dearly along the way. If the personal and emotional cost is likely to be too great, be philosophical about it; FIDO.

Having said all that, if your complaint does warrant a personal crusade, and some things are certainly worth fighting for, very many organizations are subject to a higher authority, to which you can refer your complaint.

Public services organizations - schools, councils, etc - will be part of a local government and ultimately central government hierarchy. In these structures, regional and central offices should have customer services departments to which you can refer your complaints about the local organization that's disappointed you.

Utilities and other major service organizations - for example in the energy, communications, water, transport sectors - generally have regulatory bodies which are responsible for handling unresolved complaints about the providers that they oversee. At this stage you will need clear records of everything that's happened.

Unresolved complaints about companies that are part of a larger group can be referred to the group or parent company head office. Some are more helpful than others, but generally group and parent companies are concerned if their subsidiaries are not looking after dissatisfied customers properly.

Generally look for the next level up - the regulatory body, the central office, the parent company - the organization that owns, controls or oversees the organization with which you are dissatisfied.

Sample complaints letters

These simple letters examples show the format and style of effective complaints letters. While the samples deal with relatively simple minor situations, the same format can be used for more serious complex problems and complaints. Remember, don't attempt to put every detail into the letter. Keep the letter concise, short and simple; use attachments, photocopies of previous correspondence, reports, etc., to provide the background.


Complaints letter example: faulty product

(use letterheaded paper showing home/business address and phone number)

name and address (of customer service department)

date

Dear Sirs

Faulty (xyz) product

I'm afraid that the enclosed (xyz) product doesn't work. It is the third one I've had to return this month (see attached correspondence).

I bought it from ABC stores at Newtown, Big County on (date).

I was careful to follow the instructions for use, honestly.

Other than the three I've had to return recently, I've always found your products to be excellent.

I'd be grateful if you could send a replacement and refund my postage (state amount).

I really appreciate your help.

Yours faithfully

signature

J Smith (Mrs)

Enc.



Complaints letter example - poor service

(use letterheaded paper showing home/business address and phone number)

name and address (for example to a service manager)

date

Dear (name)

Outstanding service problem - contract ref (number)

I really need your help with this.

Your engineer (name if appropriate) called for the third time in the past ten days to repair our (machine and model) at the above address, and I am still without a working machine.

He was unable to carry out the repair once more because the spare part (type/description/ref) was again not compatible. (I attach copies of the service visit reports.)

Your engineers have been excellent as always, but without the correct parts they can't do the job required.

Can I ask that you look into this to ensure that the next service visit, arranged for (date), resolves the matter.

Please telephone me to let me know how you'd like to deal with this.

When the matter is resolved I'd be grateful for a suitable refund of some of my service contract costs.

I greatly appreciate your help.

Yours sincerely

signature

J Smith (Mrs)

Enc.


Responding to customer complaints and complaints letters

Responding to complaints letters is of course a different matter than doing the complaining.

If you are in a customer service position of any sort, and you receive complaints from customers, consider the following:

Firstly it is important to refer to, and be aware of, and be fully versed in your organisation's policies and procedures for dealing with customer complaints. If your organisation does not have a procedure for complaints handling then you should suggest that it produces one. And publishes it to all staff and customers. For large, complex supply or service arrangements, and for large customer accounts, it is normal and sensible for specific 'service level agreements' (SLA's) to be negotiated and published on an individual customer basis. Again, if none exists, do your best to help to establish them - your customers will thank you.

It is essential to refer to the standards and published deliverables relating to the particular complaint. Your response needs to be sympathetic, but also needs to reflect the responsibility and accountability that your organisation bears in relation to the complaint. All organisations should have a policy for dealing with complaints, especially where the complaint is justified and results from a failure to deliver a service or product to a stated and agreed quality, specification, cost or timescale. Your organisation ideally should also have guidelines for dealing with complaints that might not justified; ie., where the customer's complaint is based on an expectation that is beyond or outside what was agreed or stated in whatever constitutes the supply contract. Matters such as these, in which a complaint might not be justified, generally require pragmatic judgement since the cost and implications of resolving such matters can be significant and far-reaching.

Aside from the judgement about solutions, remedial action, or compensation, etc., it is always vital to respond to all complaints with empathy and sympathy. Remember that the person on the other end of the phone, or the writer of the complaint letter, is another human being, trying to do the best they can, with the same pressures and challenges that you have. Respect the other person. Focus on the issues and solutions, not the personality or the emotion.

You should therefore always demonstrate a willingness, and the capability, to understand a customer's feelings and situation, whether or not you actually agree with their stand-point. The demonstration of empathic understanding goes a long long way towards soothing a customer's anger and disappointment, even if you are unable to provide a response which fully meets their expectations or their initial demands.

Use phrases like, "Oh dear, I understand that must be very upsetting for you," rather than "Yes, I agree, you've been badly treated." You can understand without necessarily agreeing. There is a difference, moreover, angry and upset people need mainly to be understood.

For this reason, all communications with complaining customers must be very sympathetic and understanding. An understanding tone should also be used in writing response letters to customer complaints, and in dealing with any failure to meet expectations, whether the customer's expectations are realistic and fair, or not.

Here is a simple template example of a response letter to a customer complaint. There are many ways to alter it. Use it as a guide.

Before sending any response letter ensure that you satisfy yourself that you are operating within your organisation's guidelines covering service levels, remedial action, compensation and acceptance of liability or blame.

Customer service response letter to a customer complaint - template example


Name and address

Date

Reference

Dear.........

I am writing with reference to (situation or complaint) of (date).

Firstly I apologise ('apologize' in US) for the inconvenience/distress/problems created by our error/failure.

We take great care to ensure that important matters such as this are properly managed/processed/implemented, although due to (give reason - be careful as to how much detail you provide - generally you need only outline the reason broadly), so on this occasion an acceptable standard has clearly not been met/we have clearly not succeeded in meeting your expectations.

In light of this, we have decided to (solution or offer), which we hope will be acceptable to you, and hope also that this will provide a basis for continuing our relationship/your continued custom.

I will call you soon to check that this meets with your approval/Please contact me should you have any further cause for concern.

Yours, etc.


Other points of note when dealing with customer complaints and complaints letters:

Always take personal responsibility for problems until they are fully resolved. Don't just 'throw it over the wall' and hope that a colleague sees it through. You must be the guardian of the complaint and look after the customer to ensure that your organisation does the right thing, even when someone else has responsibility to deal with it. Always check that the customer has been looked after, and the problem finally resolved - it's just a phone call.

Always check your policies, procedures, standing instructions, latest bulletins, etc relating to service delivery levels and complaints resolution. If procedures and standards are hazy then do your best to encourage management or directors to create and publish clearer expectations and procedures for staff and customers. When things go wrong it's normally because people don't understand what expectations are, rather than a failure of an individual, or the action or reaction of a customer.

Be careful about accepting liability if you have no guideline or policy enabling you to do so, and in any event, whereever you perceive potentially significant liability could exist, delay any decision or commitment until seeking advice from a person in suitable authority.

Always try to speak to people on the phone - even if you're writing a letter - make contact by phone as well. Voice contact is so much more reliable and effective when trying to diffuse conflict and rebuild trust.

Before you send anything - read it back to yourself and ask, "What would I think if I received this? How would I feel?" If your answers are less than positive you should re-write the letter.

If you ever find yourself using a nasty old standard customer complaints response letter, that your department has been using for ages, to the distress of your complaining customers, take responsibility for getting the standard letter replaced with something that is positive and empathic and constructive.

A complaining customer is an opportunity for the supplying organisation to improve and consolidate the relationship, and to keep the customer for life. Make sure you use it.

In responding to serious, large complaints and implications, you should initially respond with an immediate solution to resolve the current issue, and then arrange with the customer how best to develop and agree a remedial change that will prevent re-occurrence, which for large contracts should probably entail a meeting, involving relevant people from both sides. In some situations you will find that the need is actually for a fully blown re-negotiation of the service level agreement. In such cases do embrace the opportunity as a very positive one - a chance to consolidate and strengthen the relationship, and normally an opportunity to extend the length of the contract.

In dealing with complains of any sort, take heart from the fact that customers whose complaints are satisfactorily resolved, become even more loyal than they were before the complaint arose.






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How to Write a Business Reply Letter

business response letter format

From questions, issues, important topics, updates in letter templates, it is important that we respond. Even if it is just to notify the sender that you have received the e-mail or response letter, it is a good way to show respect and appreciation for the time they have put in writing and sending one for you. You may also see Letter Samples.

A response is an essential part of communication—with it, there is a conclusion to any current issues, and through it you form a bond with others. Through communication, you are able to form trust with other people, which is a very important aspect in businesses, organizations, communities, and schools.

Simple Restaurant Application Response Letter Template

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Complaint Response Letter Template

Audit Response Letter Template

Business Response Letter Template

Eviction Response Letter Template

Customer Response Letter Template

An Important Part of Our Lives

Communication is an important part of our lives. It allows us to form bonds with other people and allows us to clear any issues present. And in business, proper communication can make you earn or lose money. Through it, you are able to advertise and sell your brand as well, and good response from customers and clients can add prestige to your company’s overall image.

Legal Letters are also sought through letters, and a Legal Letter also requires response especially. Writing letters is the best form of communication aside from direct talking, as it allows the receiver time to gather and analyse before responding, allowing a concise conclusion at the end of conversation or a better confrontation before meeting.

Importance of Response

What is a response? In a direct explanation, a response is an answer or reply in words or in some action. How is a response important? In daily life, a communication between two people or group of people will only work if there is a response coming from each other.

For business, a response hold importance as it may affect decision making and answers to important issues. And in letters, a response is also an Acknowledgement Letter. It is a way for the receiver to let the sender know that their letter has been acknowledged.

Donation Response Letter Sample

Job Offer Response Letter Template

Resignation Response Letter Template

Formal Response Letter Template

Tender Response Letter Template

When You Respond

Knowing the importance of your response, you always have to make sure that gathering information and analyzing the letter you have received before responding is very important. Give the sender credit for the time they have spent in writing you a letter, whether it is to give you an update or inform you of issues, responding properly through a letter will form better rapport between you and the sender.

Here are some things to keep in mind when writing a response:

  • Identity and other details. It is important that your name and details such as return address and contact details be indicated at the top of your letter. It allows the receiver of your letter an alternative way to communicating with you effectively and conveniently.
  • Salutation. Start with “Dear Ms./Mr. So and So” or “Dear Ms./Mr. So and So,” or if the receiver has a distinct position like a doctor or professor, address them accordingly as “Dear Dr.” or “Dear Prof.”
  • Content. When it comes down to the content of your letter, say your thanks to them for reaching out to you and indicate the purpose of your response as the first paragraph. On the main body of your response, indicate everything that must be addressed that needs to in a concise and detailed manner and end your letter with a proper ending by stating your sincerity.

Samples provided in this article is free for you to download and use as a reference material, and if you need other samples, check out Thank-You Letter For Appreciation that is also available on our site.

English for business is a particularly challenging topic for ESL students. Here's a guide to the basics of writing letters to respond to inquiries.

11+ Response Letter Samples

business response letter format

Even in an age of email and texting, hard-copy business letters have their place. Shifting from digital to hard-copy mode can be a challenge: An email can sound casual, but a written letter requires a degree of dignity and class. Don't worry about trying to sound original -- you're safer sticking to the tried-and-true formats and the rules of business communication etiquette.

Stick to the Point

Whether you're replying to criticism or request for your CV, your letter should stay on point. Never go beyond one page and never be discourteous. If someone has written you a letter of complaint seething with invective, stay polite and calm when you write back. If the original letter is about a business opportunity, say thank you. Never imply that by writing back you've resolved everything -- that the complainer should be fully satisfied, that you know you're getting the job. That's for your correspondent to decide.

Format and Font

The standard format for a business letter is single-spaced, with one space between paragraphs, and everything justified to the left margin. In the 21st century, it's acceptable to move away from the block standard, for example by indenting the paragraphs. Times New Roman, point-size 12, is almost always an acceptable, readable font. If your company has any preferences -- say, for instance, it favors indented paragraphs -- format it that way.

What Goes on Top

The standard layout starts with your business address. If you're writing on letterhead stationery, you can skip that. Below the address comes the date, then the recipient's name, business and address. Skip a line, and then address the recipient as "Dear Ms." or "Mr." unless he has a title such as "Dr." Don't use first names unless the initial letter writer did.

The Lower End

Wrap up the letter with a "Sincerely," followed by followed by your signature, then your typed name. If you're sending anything with the letter, such as a form, a cost estimate or your CV, write "enclosure" under your name, followed by a list of the attachments. If you're sending something in a separate letter, add a note such as "under separate cover: financial statement." A "cc" followed by a list of names tells the recipient you've sent copies to someone else.

About the Author

A graduate of Oberlin College, Fraser Sherman began writing in 1981. Since then he's researched and written newspaper and magazine stories on city government, court cases, business, real estate and finance, the uses of new technologies and film history. Sherman has worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, and his magazine articles have been published in "Newsweek," "Air & Space," "Backpacker" and "Boys' Life." Sherman is also the author of three film reference books, with a fourth currently under way.

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Assume that you are the manager of Mr. Anna Trade International, 54, Washington, New York. Mr. Michel Trading Agency, , TUCSON AZ USA has a.

business response letter format
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