Presentation on theme: "Letters and Memos that Carry Negative News"— Presentation transcript:
1Letters and Memos that Carry Negative News C H A P T E RLetters and Memos that Carry Negative News8
2Learning ObjectivesIdentify the need for indirectness in delivering bad news.Recognize six components in an effective indirect strategy.Apply skilful writing techniques in refusing requests.Retain good will while refusing claims.Demonstrate tact in refusing credit requests.
3Before Applying the Indirect Writing Strategy Analyze the message.Anticipate the reader’s reaction.Know when to be direct
4Elements of the Indirect Strategy BufferTransitionExplanationBad newsAlternative(s)Goodwill closing
5Develop a Good Buffer Reduces or cushions the shock of negative news. Provides a neutral or positive opening that does not reveal the bad news.Isneutralupbeatrelevant
6Build a Smooth Transition Guides the reader to an explanation that follows.Plants a key word or idea in the buffer and/or transition that leads the reader to reasons for refusal.
7Present the Explanation Presents sound reasons for denying a request.Projects an unemotional, objective, and helpful tone.
8De-emphasize Bad News Avoid the spotlight. Put the bad news in the middle of a paragraph halfway through the letter.Use a long sentence.Don’t put bad news in a short, simple sentence.Put the bad news in a subordinate clause.
9De-emphasize Bad NewsI realize that the new accountant, if hired, would help all departments prepare tax information. You realize, however, that because the fiscal year ends this month, most departmentfunds are earmarked. Although financial support for additional help cannot be provided by the departments, most employees are willing to devote extra time and effort during tax preparation.
10De-emphasize Bad News Use the passive voice. Although financial support cannot be provided by the departments for additional help, most employees are willing to devote extra time and effort during tax preparation.
11De-emphasize Bad News Be clear but not overly graphic. Imply the refusal.I realize that the new accountant, if hired, would help all departments prepare tax information. You realize, however, that because the fiscal year ends this month, most department funds are earmarked.
12De-emphasize Bad News Offer an alternative. Although financial support cannot be provided by the departments for additional help, most employees are willing to devote extra time and effort during tax preparation.
13Close With GoodwillProvide courteous, pleasant, and forward-looking closing that doesn’t refer directly to the bad news.We hope that the dedication of the present staff will contribute to successful tax preparation.
14Close With Goodwill Avoid closings that Refer to the bad news Conclude with clichésInvite further correspondence
15Writing Plan for Refusing Requests and Claims Buffer:Identify previous correspondence incidentally or in a subject line.Begin with a neutral statement on which both reader and writer can agree.
16Writing Plan for Refusing Requests and Claims Friendly refusal for a cash refundDear Mr. Durante:SUBJECT: YOUR MAY 15 LETTERYou are one of nearly 500 individuals who took advantage of our membership campaign and joined the MegaGym physical fitness program. We’re glad that you have been able to use our outstanding training equipment and our workout classes for the past seven months.Identifies previous correspondence.Neutral statement.
17Writing Plan for Refusing Requests and Claims Transition:Plant a key idea or word that leads naturally to the explanation.
18Writing Plan for Refusing Requests and Claims You are one of nearly 500 individuals who took advantage of our membership campaign and joined the MegaGym physical fitness program. We’re glad that you have been able to use our outstanding training equipment and our workout classes for the past seven months.Because of the success of our membership campaign, we have been able to add a number of state-of-the-art equipment units.Key Word.
19Writing Plan for Refusing Requests and Claims Explanation:Present valid reasons for the refusal.
20Writing Plan for Refusing Requests and Claims Because of the success of our membership campaign, we have been able to add a number of state-of-the-art equipment units. This and other improvements depend on the contracts signed by individuals like you. We hire employees, schedule workouts, and purchase equipment based on the number of contract memberships in effect.Explanation is logical and objective.
21Writing Plan for Refusing Requests and Claims Bad News:Soften the blow by de-emphasizing refusal.
22Writing Plan for Refusing Requests and Claims To allow membership contracts to be broken would make it impossible for us to fulfill our commitments to our employees and to our members. Although your contract payment cannot be refunded, we can deactivate your membership. When you return from your overseas assignment, you may resume your active status and use the remaining five months of your membership.Refusal is softened by position, wording, and alternative.
23Writing Plan for Refusing Requests and Claims Closing:Renew good feelings with a positive statement.
24Writing Plan for Refusing Requests and Claims Goodwill closing focuses on making alternativeeasy to accept.Enclosed is a form for you to return regarding the status of your membership. You can count on MegaGym to help you get back in shape when you are able to resume your membership.
25Writing Plan for Refusing Credit Buffer:Express appreciation for order or for credit application.Include resale information if appropriate.Dear Ms. Rhodes:We genuinely appreciate your application of April 3 for a Holt Platinum credit card.
26Writing Plan for Refusing Credit Transition:Move from buffer to explanation logically.Repeat key idea or word if possible.We consider many factors in our evaluation process, and the requirements for this type of card are demanding.
27Writing Plan for Refusing Credit Explanation:Describe submission of application to credit-reporting agency.Do not specify reasons for denial.Use objective language.
28Writing Plan for Refusing Credit We consider many factors in our evaluation process, and the requirements for this type of card are demanding. After receiving a report of your current credit record from TRW Information Services, we find that a Platinum card cannot be issued at this time.
29Writing Plan for Refusing Credit Bad News:Imply refusal or state it respectfully.Offer alternatives, if possible.Suggest possible extension of future credit here or in the closing.
30Writing Plan for Refusing Credit After receiving a report of your current credit record from TRW Information Services, we find that a Platinum card cannot be issued at this time. If you feel your credit report contains inaccurate information, please contact TRW and follow the instructions on the enclosed sheet to verify your report.
31Writing Plan for Refusing Credit Closing:Project an optimistic look to the future.Thanks, Ms. Rhodes, for the confidence you have shown in Holt. We invite you to continue shopping at our stores, and we look forward to your reapplication in the future.
32Credit Refusals That Retain Business Avoid language that causes hard feelings.Include only factually correct information. Avoid adding your opinions or suggestions.Strive to retain customers on a cash basisPrepare for possible future credit--without raising false expectations.
33Try Your SkillRevise the following refusals so that the bad news appears in a subordinate clause or discuss strategies for revising.
34Try Your Skill1. We cannot fill your order because we are out of Model X-25 printer stands. We can, however, substitute Model X-35, which can be shipped immediately.Although we are out of Model X-25 printer stands, we can ship immediately Model X-35.
35Try Your Skill2. Kable Connection cannot extend credit on your Express Card number. However, we can extend credit if you apply for a Kable Card.Although Kable Connection cannot extend credit on your Express Card number, we can extend credit if you apply for a Kable Card.
36Try Your SkillConvert the following sentences from active to passive voice.1. I am unable to make a cash contribution this year because of unusually high taxes.A cash contribution this year is impossible because of unusually high taxes.
37Try Your Skill 2. We cannot process your application this month. Your application cannot be processed this month.3. The Transit Authority no longer authorizes reduced fare for college students.Reduced fares for college students are no longer authorized.
38Try Your SkillStudy the following openings of actual bad-news letters from well-known companies (with names changed). Discuss strategies for improving the remaining letters—if they need revision. Use the following questions to guide your discussion.Does the bad-news letter follow an indirect strategy?Does it open with a buffer?Does the letter require revision to retain goodwill?
39Big Name Cable TV Company Try Your SkillIneffective:Big Name Cable TV CompanyDear Customer:In order to provide you with the best in customer service, to maintain continued picture quality, and to continue delivering the cable programming you currently enjoy, we must adjust our rates.Like every business in town, we are faced with increased operating costs.
40Big Name Cable TV Company Try Your SkillImproved:Big Name Cable TV CompanyDear Valued Customer:For many years Big name Cable TV Company has prided itself on bringing you remarkable programming and responsive service while keeping customer costs at the lowest in the cable industry.Like every business in town, however, we are faced with increased operating costs. In order to continue providing you with the best in customer service, to maintain continued picture quality, and to continue delivering the cable programming you currently enjoy, we find it necessary to adjust our rates.
41Best-Known Garden Product Company Try Your SkillIneffective:Best-Known Garden Product CompanyDear Unhappy Vegetable Gardener:I am very sorry that you are dissatisfied with the performance of the PlentiFul plant food product in your garden. We take great care in blending the finest water soluble plant foods. I am inclined to believe that your dissatisfaction with our product is due to some misunderstanding of how water soluble plant foods should be used or due to some other factor in your garden completely unrelated to the plant food.
42Big Pharmaceutical Company Try Your SkillIneffective:Big Pharmaceutical CompanyDear Mr. Manning:Thank you for writing about our product, OptiTears. We can certainly understand your concern over experiencing eye discomfort following use of this particular bottle. It was helpful of you to return the bottle of OptiTears in question so that our laboratories can analyze the product for conformance to specifications. Results of the analysis provide useful information in our continual product evaluations and will be made available to you.