Every email that we write should be professional, friendly and polite. We do this by using clear, plain English (see here for more details).
When writing an email replying to an enquiry, we also need to make sure that:
- we provide all the information that the customer needs
- we promote our company and try to win the customer’s business
Read the following email and then read Reply A and Reply B:
We are currently seeking a professional cleaning service for our small office.
Our office area is around 2000 square feet. Since it includes a workshop, we generate a lot of plastics waste and we would like to ensure that this is dealt with in an eco-friendly manner. We would require the service twice-weekly and our budget is $200.
Could you provide a quote for us, please?
Mr JC Dobson
Regarding your recent enquiry, attached is a brochure with a price list and information on our services.
Brillite Cleaning Services
Dear Mr Dobson,
Thank you for your recent enquiry. We would be very happy to provide cleaning services for your office.
We have a commitment to helping the environment and I can assure you that your plastics waste will be recycled.
For your size of office, a twice-weekly service will cost $190 although we do charge extra if you have wooden flooring. A formal quotation is attached with this email.
If you have any further questions, you can contact me directly at 013 220 9178 and I would be glad to assist. Please also visit our website (wecleanit.com) for a full list of our services.
Brillite Cleaning Services
Sample A does not attempt to address the client’s particular needs at all and just directs the customer to a brochure. In fact, you might think that the company sends the same email to answer all enquiries, especially since the email is addressed to ‘Dear Sir’, after Mr Dobson has already given his name.
Sample B, on the other hand, makes sure that all the customer’s concerns are addressed, including the budget. Sample B also uses friendly, inviting language, such as, ‘I would be glad to…’ to make the customer feel at ease.
Let’s look in more detail at how we can structure this kind of email. We can use the following three-part structure:
Part 1: Thank the customer for the enquiry
Part 2: Answer all queries put forward by the customer
Part 3: Close and offer further assistance
Let’s see how this layout is applied to another sample email. In the first email, Mrs Choudry is contacting a hotel to enquire about booking a function hall. The second email is the hotel’s reply:
I am writing to enquire about hiring one of your function halls for a corporate dinner event on February 25. The event would take place from 7pm to around 11pm and would be attended by fifty persons.
There are a few special requirements that we have:
Our committee will be meeting on February 10 to discuss which hotel to use. We would greatly appreciate it if we could have a quotation from you before then.
Mrs S Choudry,
Assistant Manager, Corporate Services,
Sunrise Resources Ltd
Dear Mrs Choudry,
Thank you for considering our hotel for your function. I feel that Herriot Hotel would be a splendid choice for your event.
Our function hall is indeed available on February 25. As for your other requirements:
I have attached a full quotation with this email.
I would also like to invite you to drop by and view the function hall. We can put together a food tasting for you as well. Just call me at 032 2289 1121 to make an appointment. We look forward to hosting your event.
Mr Crawford thanks Mrs Choudry for her potential business. He also promotes his hotel as a good choice.
Mr Crawford confirms that the function hall is available and goes on to address Mrs Choudry’s enquiries one by one. Note that the bullet points match those in the enquiry email.
Mr Crawford goes one step further to win the customer – by offering Mrs Choudry a chance to view the facilities and taste the food. He closes by giving his contact number and expressing excitement at the prospect of hosting the event.
Sample writing tasks
Reply to these emails:
I came across your website while searching for a security system for my warehouse. I am interested in your model 22XZ-A, but I have a few questions:
There have been a lot of burglaries near the warehouse recently, so I would appreciate it if you could get back to me as soon as possible.
Your martial arts classes were recommended to me by a friend. I am organizing a series of self-defense classes for a group of twenty people from our office and I hope you might be able to offer your services.
I have a few queries:
Please provide any other information which you feel may be useful.
Newton City Council