Chapter 6 Lecture:
Critical Thinking Questions
1. What’s wrong with using the indirect pattern for writing routine requests and replies? If in the end the reader understands the message, why make a big fuss over the organization?
In business, time is money. You don’t want to waste your time or that of the receiver. Using the indirect pattern takes more time, delays comprehension, and is inconsistent with the needs of business.
2. Since brevity is valued in business writing, is it ever wise to respond with more information than requested? Why?
Although brevity is valued, complete information is even more important. In responding to some requests, you may realize that the person inquiring has not asked all the important questions. If you have additional information that you feel would be helpful, by all means volunteer it. Don’t overdo it, of course. Mention that additional information and tell the receiver how to learn more, if necessary. It’s better to offer additional information than to hold back in the name of brevity.
3. Which is more effective in claim letters—anger or objectivity? Why?
Although we often want to vent our anger at poor service or failed products, emotional outbursts do little to solve problems. If you are really angry over a problem, it might be wise to write an irate letter and get it out of your system. Then set it aside. The next day you will often feel differently and see more clearly how to deal with the problem. Angry messages create hostility in the receiver. They do not solve problems. Objectivity helps you state a problem clearly and establish possible solutions. Receivers are much more eager to deal with rational, objective individuals than with incensed individuals who are not thinking clearly.
4. Why is it important to regain the confidence of a customer when you respond to a claim letter?
Unhappy customers have, naturally, lost some degree of confidence in the company and its products or services. Regaining that confidence and reestablishing good feelings is crucial for future business. Regaining confidence requires more than a general form–letter statement, such as “We’re sorry, and we’ll try not to let this happen again.” When possible, companies should provide specific explanations of what is being done to rectify the conditions leading to the product failure or dissatisfaction. Warm, simple, and sincere language helps, too. Many companies extend coupons for free products or services so that customers will give the company a second chance.
5. Is it appropriate for businesspeople to write goodwill messages expressing thanks, recognition, and sympathy to business acquaintances? Why or why not?
Goodwill messages are always appropriate, whether personal or professional. In the business world goodwill messages build bonds between people and solidify business relations. Expressing thanks and giving recognition are especially important in developing and maintaining good employee relations. Sympathy messages are difficult to write, but they are much appreciated when individuals are grieving.