In-Depth Tips from Dr English

doceng3Dr English is the resident expert in language and communication training at Workplace English Training E-Platform (WETE). The informative and often in-depth articles below will help more advanced learners to understand and improve various aspects of their English, especially the English they need for work. You can read Dr English's tips on your PC, laptop or mobile device. These articles are only available for members of WETE. If you would like to subscribe and receive email notifications of future postings, please subscribe by clicking the Newsletter link above.

Replying to Enquiries and Requests

30 Dec 2020

repliesReplies to emails of enquiry or request are a means of creating goodwill with clients as well as your colleagues. Such emails should be responded to as quickly as possible.

It is also important that the replies are written in the correct tone. The personal approach, with plenty of references to I, we, you, me, etc., is ideal for this kind of email. Your reply should be polite and positive, and should give the impression that it is a pleasure for you to be able to respond to the reader and to carry out the request made.

Before you write a reply to a request, read through the text received and take note of all the requests made by the client. Then, decide on the information that you need to give to the client. If you have complied with the request already, tell the client so. If you have not been able to comply with the request or are unable to respond to the enquiry, tell the client what he or she can do. Be helpful.

Language and Organization

Most replies to requests have similar organization. They usually consist of 3-4 paragraphs, although the length of these paragraphs may vary considerably.

a. The First Paragraph: Acknowledge the Request

All replies to requests start with a paragraph acknowledging the request. Your acknowledgement should mention the date of the request, and should summarize what has been requested. Below are some expressions that may be used:

Thank you for your email of 29 February regarding the above request.

I have received your email of 8 May requesting information about ……

I refer to your -mail of 3 June requesting …...

I refer to our telephone conversation of last Monday concerning……

b. The Second Paragraph: Details of Response to Request

The second paragraph gives details of whether or not the request has been granted. If the request has been granted, the customer will need to know the full details of how the request has been carried out. If the request is denied, you need to tell the reader why it has been turned down and what the reader can do.

If you receive a request for something, you can either agree to it or refuse it. Below are some expressions that you may use:

Agreeing to a Request

The following expressions can be used to start a letter in which you agree to a request:

We would be pleased to carry out your instructions to…

As requested, we have carried out your instructions to …

We are pleased to inform you that …

We are able to …

Refusing a Request

This has to be done tactfully and requires an explanation if you don’t want to appear unhelpful or rude. Conventional phrases that can be used are:

We regret that we are unable to …

We regret to inform you that we cannot …

Regrettably, we are unable to …

In the best interests of our customers, we do not normally…

Unfortunately, data is required to …

c. The Final Paragraph

In this paragraph, we need to express the hope that the arrangements made are satisfactory and we will hear from the reader again (if applicable). The following expressions are useful:

I hope that these arrangements will prove acceptable to you.

I hope that these arrangements meet your approval.

Please contact me on 22344533 if you need any further information.

Please contact me if you have any questions on this or any other matters.

Please contact me if I can be of further assistance to you.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please let us know if we can offer any more help.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Responding to Compliments Gracefully

Leaving Clear Voice Messages

The Ten Most Common Grammatical Errors in Hong Kong

Techniques for Emphasising your Message When Speaking

Paragraph Unity

Complaining Effectively to Suppliers

Being Tactful When Networking

The Top 10 Common Grammatical Errors in Hong Kong

Using the Past Perfect Tense

Contrast between The Past Simple & The Present Perfect Tenses

Readings Skills: The Pause and Think Method

How to Give a Good Speech or Presentation in English

Paragraph Unity

Tips for Editing Business Documents

Cutting Out Wordy Phrases and Redundancy

Using Modal Verbs to Express Possibility

Using Capital Letters in Your Writing

Using Precise Active Voice Verbs

Reading Advice

Menu