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Questionnaire: Are Your Service Letters Clear?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 24 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
Service Provider Letter Clarity Clear

When you write a letter to a service provider you run the risk of becoming stuck in a vicious cycle of supplying extra information only to be asked for even more detail before your original concern can be dealt with. Thankfully a clear, concise letter can greatly decrease your chances of being caught up in this particular pattern.

To help you determine iwhether your letters to service providers are as clear as possible we have put together the following questionnaire. Answer “yes” or “no” to each question then total your answers. Match the number of “yes” answers to the explanations at the end to learn more about how you can improve the clarity of your letters to service providers.

1. Do you include your account number on each letter?
2. Do you always quote any reference number a service provider has assigned you?
3. Do you list the name(s) on the account to which you are referring?
4. Do you include the names of representatives who have helped you with this matter?
5. Do you provide a summary of your problem and what has been done already?
6. Are you clear about the resolution you would be happy to experience?
7. Do you ask directly for the resolution you would like to see?
8. Do you always include required attachments (copies of your bills, etc)?
9. Do you ask for a specific reply to each letter?
10. Do you provide a specific subject line for each letter?
11. Do you address your letters to a specific individual rather than department?
12. Do you send your letter via the service provider’s suggested process?

Are Your Service Letters Clear?

If you answered “yes” to between zero and four questions - then your service letters are not likely clear. You may get so caught up in the frustration of the problem and/or the responses you have previously received from the service provider that you forget to address the original issue and the resolution you would like. Always make sure that at the very least you quote your account number, summarise the problem you are experiencing and be very clear about how the problem has been handled to this point. Ask directly for a specific next step to be taken, and don’t hesitate to follow up if you have not received any communication in an appropriate amount of time. If you must follow-up with a service provider who never answered you be sure to make this lack of contact clear in your next letter.

If you answered “yes” to between five and eight questions - then your service letters may be clear. You likely include basic information like your account number and any reference number you were assigned, but you may be hurting your case by forgetting things like addressing your letter to a specific person and/or submitting your letter in the way the service provider advises. Though it may not seem fair, if you send in a letter addressed in the wrong way or if you send a hard copy rather than an email it may put your letter at the bottom of the pile or even keep it from being read. Following all of the guidelines suggested by your service provider - often found on a website or by simply asking a representative - will always increase your chances of your letter being read and taken seriously.

If you answered “yes” to nine or more questions - then your service letters are most likely clear. You likely understand the importance of providing great detail in each letter as well as asking directly for items you think you deserve. If you are still not receiving the type of responses you would like then ring your service provider to find out what is keeping your requests from being fulfilled. You may discover that speaking directly with a representative cuts to the heart of the matter, or you may discover that you must send another letter in a new way or with new information. Either way you will likely feel more productive and efficient than having to guess what you might be doing wrong - if anything.

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