Writing Assignment #2 - Explaining Adjustment
Writing Assignment #2 Explaining Adjustment Letter Revision
Purpose To reflect critically on audience and purpose in the workplace
Adjustment letters offer companies an opportunity to foster good customer relationships. When someone takes the time to write a letter or other communication about their negative experience with a product or service, how you respond will determine whether you maintain a positive relationship. Your response will be either “yes” or “no”. A yes letter, also called a positive adjustment letter, outlines how your company will fix the customer’s problem. A letter that says no is called a negative adjustment letter, and assures the customer the answer is fair, logical, and consistent. Each type has different objectives and organization.
A positive adjustment letter is organized in four steps:
1. Admit immediately that the customer’s complaint is justified and apologize. Thank the customer for writing.
2. State precisely what you are going to do to correct the problem. Be concise but honest and be sure to offer this in the first paragraph (front load the “good news”).
3. Tell the customer what happened. There is no need to go into great detail or to deflect blame. 4. End on a friendly and positive note, and if you have the authority, offer some sort of compensation
A negative adjustment letter is organized in five steps:
1. Thank the customer for writing. Be polite and respectful.
2. State the problem carefully to let the customer know you understand the complaint.
3. Explain what happened with the product or service before giving your decision. It should make clear that the customer is being treated fairly.
4. Give your “no” decision without qualification or hedging, and do not apologize. This “bad news” should come towards the end of the letter. 5. Leave the door open for better and continued business.
Assignment This two-part assignment asks you to imagine that you are the manager of Manhattan Galleries. Your new assistant has written a letter responding to a customer’s claim that her painting was delivered with sags in the canvas. You instructed your assistant to write a positive adjustment letter that would offer to reimburse the customer for the cost of having the canvas re-stretched at her local framing shop. This client could be an important source of future business and referrals for you. You are dismayed when you read your assistant’s letter, which needs substantial revision before you would consider sending it to a customer.
Part One of this assignment requires you to annotate (NOT rewrite) your assistant’s letter (see below), employing the strategies above about how to write an effective positive adjustment letter to a customer. Keep in mind that your goals in an adjustment letter are 1. to rectify the wrong, 2. to regain the confidence of the customer, and 3. to promote further business. Your notations need to be clear. Remember that your assistant will use your notations to improve the letter, so be specific.
Part Two asks you to write a memo to your assistant you will attach to the annotated letter. In the memo explain to your assistant why you made the comments you did. Your goal in doing so is to help her learn how to write more effective customer letters. You will not be able to review all of her future letters; therefore, you want to be certain she understands how to communicate with customers. You want to provide feedback and instruction without damaging morale. Keep audience and purpose in mind.
• The format, margins, spacing, and grammar are perfect in “Sally’s” letter and need no comment. Your memo should only focus on the content. Since her letter is still in draft form, no signature is needed at this stage. • Provide detailed notations (MSWord Comments is fine) on “Sally’s” letter. You are welcome to print off the letter and handwrite your comments before posting. Keep the facts the same as in the original, but do not rewrite the letter or any of the sentences. That is Sally’s job; yours is to guide her in this process. • Do not exceed 1.5 pages, single-spaced for your memo. Consider using graphic highlighting (e.g., bullets, numbering, boldface type) to make your points more readable.