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However
Is used in exactly the same way as 'but'. It is often used to contrast what
was stated/said in the previous sentence.

'We were able to identify a problem with a part in the
machine. However, when we replaced it, it didn't resolve the
problem the machine has had.'

Nevertheless
Is used in exactly the same way as 'but'.

'The heating problems have been resolved in the
building, nevertheless the heating will not be turned on
until tomorrow morning.'

Nonetheless
Is used in exactly the same way as 'but'.

'The heating problems have been resolved in the
building, nonetheless the heating will not be turned on until
tomorrow morning.'

Be able to
This is used when you want to talk about abilities. It can also be used in
the past (like 'could') to talk about abilities.

'We are able to attened next week's meeting.'
'After extensive investiagations, we were able toidentify the
cause of the issue.

Be willing to
This is used when you offer to do something which another person has
asked you to do.

'We are willing to change the location of the meeting to a
place which is easier for you to attend.'

Could
Although 'could' is used as the past form of 'can', it is also used as a polite
form of 'can' when asking permission to do something or in making
requests to people.

'Could I meet with you some time this week to talk about this
issue?'
'Could you please complete the attached form and send it
back to us as soon as you can.'

Fail
Using 'fail' instead of 'forget' will make you (or your business/organisation)
sound a little less incompetent when talking about the thing you didn't do.

'We failed to check if the software was working before the
presentation started.'

Neglect
This is basically a more formal way of saying 'fail'. And like 'fail', it will
make you (or your business/organisation) sound a little less incompetent
when talking about the thing you 'forget' to do. I personally would use 'fail'
instead of this.

'He neglected to inform them about the change to the time
of the meeting.'

Go back to vocabulary list page

Formal synonyms
of 'HAPPEN'
Below are the formal and polite equivalents (synonyms) of 'happen'
which you can use in your business or professional pieces of writing.
The below synonyms can be used when you want to explain to
somebody what, why, when and where something 'happened' or 'will
happen'.

Occur
This is normally only used for explaining when, where and why negative
things (e.g. problems, accidents etc...) or changes 'happen'.

'A problem occurred in one of the machines in the factory.'

Take place
This can be used in all the same ways as 'happen'. It sounds a little more
formal.

'The presentation will take place in the civic centre on
Tuesday the 1st of March.'

Formal synonyms
of 'HELP'
Below are the formal and polite equivalents (synonyms) of 'help'
which you can use in your business or professional pieces of writing.
These synonyms are normally only for used when help has the
meaning of 'helping' people, not to make something easier to do.

Assist
In addition to using this as a verb, you can use the noun of it 'assistance'
with the same meaning

'We were assisted in the creation of the report by the
marketing department.'
'If you require any further assistance, please don't hesitate
to ask.'

Aid
Although it has exactly the same meaning as 'assist', it is less commonly
used in business writing.

'We will aid you in anything that you need.'

Be of service
Only normally used when offering somebody 'help'. You can also add 'any'
to this phrase (e.g. 'be of any service')

'If we can be of any service, please don't hesitate to ask.'

Formal synonyms
of 'MUST'
Below are politer ways of saying 'must' which you can use in your
formal business or professional pieces of writing:

Need to
It is used when both ordering people directly what they 'must' do and
saying what thing(s) 'must' be done.

'You need to complete the form by 23 November at the
latest.'
'The form needs to be completed by 23 November at the
latest.'

Be required to
It is only used when ordering people directly what they 'must' do.

'You are required to complete the form by 23 November at
the latest.'

Have to
It is used when both ordering people directly what they 'must' do and
saying what thing(s) 'must' be done.

'You have to complete the form by 23 November at the
latest.'
'The form has to be completed by 23 November at the latest.'

Formal synonyms
of 'PROBLEM'
Below is a formal and polite equivalent (synonym) of 'problem'
which you can use in your business or professional pieces of writing.

Issue
With this meaning, 'issue' can be used in exactly the same ways that you
would use 'problem'. For some reason, if you use 'issue' it makes the thing
which there is a 'problem' with sound less important/serious.

It is perfect to use when you have to inform somebody about or talk
about a 'problem' which you or your business/organisation is
responsible for. If you (or your business/organisation) are the person
having the 'problem' and you want to complain about it, I would use
'problem' instead of 'issue' to make it sound more important/serious.

'I would like to make you aware that we are currently
experiencing some issues with the delivery of your order.'

Formal synonyms
of 'PROMISE'
Below are the formal and polite equivalents (synonyms) of
'promise' which you can use in your business or professional pieces
of writing.
The below synonyms are used when you make a 'promise' to
somebody that something will happen, that you will do something or
that something you told them before is true. You would normally do
this when the other person has doubts about it.

Assure
This is a formal way to say 'promise'. You can also use this to talk about
things that happened in the past or are happening in the present.

'I assure you that we will conduct an investigation into this
issue as soon as possible.'
'I assure you that we were unaware of the problems until you
contacted us.'

Guarantee
This is a strong 'promise'. It is normally only used to talk about things
which will happen in the future.

'I guarantee that we will conduct an investigation into this
issue as soon as possible

Formal synonyms
of 'remember'
Below is a formal and polite equivalent (synonym) of 'remember'
which you can use in your business or professional pieces of writing.
The below synonym should only be used when talking or asking
about something which happened in the past (e.g. 'I remember
speaking to him'), not with ordering people to do things (e.g.
'remember to speak to him'). For ordering people to do things, you
should use ensure (e.g. 'ensure that you speak to him') instead.

Recall
This is a formal and better sounding way to say 'remember'.

'If you recall what was said in last week's meeting, we agreed
that testing would not be started until next week.

Formal synonyms
of 'SAY'
Below are the formal and polite equivalents (synonyms) of 'say'
which you can use in your business or professional pieces of writing:

State
Used when you want to say what somebody said (in both writing and
speech) in the past, present and future.

'As I stated in the previous email, there is still no
confirmation on the meeting time or date.'

Express
Used when you want to write about an opinion that somebody made
(normally in speech) in the past, present and future.

'During the meeting Simon expressed his doubts concerning
the reliability of the product.'

Remark
Used when you want to write about a comment that somebody said
(normally in speech) and normally in the past.

'During the meeting it was remarked that the delay could be
due to other factors.'

Comment
Used in this context when you want to write about a comment that
somebody said (in both writing and speech) in the past, present and
future.

'He commented that the changes would require a long time
to be implemented.'
'If you would like to comment on the suggestions made
here.'

Formal synonyms
of 'SO'
Below are the formal and polite equivalents (synonyms) of 'so'
which you can use in your business or professional pieces of writing.
'So' has a number of different meanings. Below are synonyms for it
which are used when you want to give or explain what the
consequences or the results of something happening are or will be.

Therefore
Used to explain/give what the consequences of something are.

'We have still not received payment for your last order with
us. Therefore, you will be unable to order any further
products from us until we do.'

Thus
With this meaning, it is used to explain/give what the consequences of
something are. This should only be used in very formal pieces of writing.

'Our testing has shown that the problem is caused by a
specific part in the machine. Thus, we will replace this part
in the coming days.'

As a consequence
Used to explain/give what the consequences of something are.

'You have not responded to our previous emails regarding
your attendance at the event. As a consequence, we have
given the tickets to another organisation.'

As a result
Used to explain/give what the consequences of something are.

'Our testing has shown that the problem is caused by a
specific part in the machine. As a result, we will replace this
part in the coming days.'

Formal synonyms
of 'START'
Below are the formal and polite equivalents (synonyms) of 'say'
which you can use in your business or professional pieces of writing:

Commence
A more formal way of saying 'start'.

'Stage two of the project will commence once we have
approval from the owners of the company.'

Begin
Means exactly the same as 'start', but sounds better to use in writing.

'The presentation will begin at 2pm on Friday.'

Formal synonyms
of 'SUGGEST'
Below are the formal and polite equivalents (synonyms) of 'suggest'
which you can use in your business or professional pieces of writing.
These synonyms can be used when you want to 'make suggestions'
to people about what they should do or should be done.

Recommend
Basically means the same as 'suggest', but it makes the advice you are
giving sound like it comes from an expert.

'We recommend that some of the parts of the design are
changed to make it easier to manufacture.'

Propose
Basically means the same as 'suggest', but like 'recommend', it makes the
advice you are giving sound like it comes from an expert.

'We propose that you change some of the parts of the design
to make it easier to manufacture.'

Advise
Basically means the same as 'suggest', but sounds more formal.

'I would advise us to wait before we make any decisions until
we know all the facts.

Urge
Used when you feel strongly that people should do what you are
'suggesting'.

'I urge you not to make any decisions until we have had an
opportunity to talk.'

Formal synonyms
of 'TALK ABOUT'
Below are the formal and polite equivalents (synonyms) of 'talk
about' or 'speak about' which you can use in your business or
professional pieces of writing:

Discuss
It has exactly the same meaning and uses as 'talk about'. To say that you
did it for a long time, add 'at length' after it.

'The question about the cost will be dicussed at length in the
next meeting.'

Mention
It means to 'talk about' something for a short time and not in a lot of
detail.

'I mentioned the need to perform an audit.'

Raise
It means to introduce a topic, subject, point and then 'talk about' it.

'You raised some interesting points in your last email.'

Bring up
It means to introduce a topic, subject, point and then 'talk about' it.

'If there is anything that you would like to bebrought up in
the next meeting, please let me know.'

Formal synonyms
of 'TELL'
Below are the formal and polite equivalents (synonyms) of 'tell'
somebody about something which you can use in your business or
professional pieces of writing:

Inform
It has exactly the same meaning and uses as 'tell'.

'If you can inform your staff about the new procedures, it
will be very much appreciated.'

Notify

It has exactly the same meaning and uses as 'tell/inform'.

'If you can notify your staff about the new procedures, it will
be very much appreciated.'

Brief
Although it has same meaning as 'tell/inform', when you use 'brief' it
suggests that you did it for a long time and in a lot of detail.

'If you can brief your staff about the new procedures, it will
be very much appreciated.'

Apprise
It is a very formal way of saying 'tell/inform'. It should only be used when
writing to very educated people.

'When we are aware of the new procedures, we
willapprise you immediately.'

Formal synonyms
of 'THINK ABOUT'
Below are the formal and polite equivalents (synonyms) of 'think
about' which you can use in your business or professional pieces of
writing:
The synonyms of 'think about' below are used when you think about
doing something before deciding what to do.

Consider
It has the same meaning and uses as 'think about'. To say that you did it
for a long time, add 'at length' after it.

'We have considered your proposal at length and we have
decided...'

Deliberate
It means that you have 'thought about' or 'considered' something very
carefully and for a long time.

'We have deliberated on what we should next do with the
project and we have decided...'

Formal synonyms
of 'want'
Below are the formal and polite equivalents (synonyms) of 'want'
which you can use in your business or professional pieces of writing.
These synonyms are used when you are asking people to do
something or to give you something.

Require
Used in exactly the same way as 'want' when asking people to do things.

'In order to process your order, we require your bank
account details and a contact phone number.'

Need
Used in exactly the same way as 'want' when asking people to do things.

'In order to process your order, we need you to supply us
with your bank account details and a contact phone number.'

Would like
This can be both used when both asking people to do things and saying
what you 'want' to happen or do.

'In order to process your order, we would like you to supply
us with your bank account details and a contact phone
number.'
'We would like to change the time of Friday's meeting from
11am to 3pm.'

Exercise: Advice on writing emails
Read the following conversation between Peter and Juan, two work
colleagues, about emails in English.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the
words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if
you are right.

Juan: 'Peter, I have to write an email. It's the first time I've had to
write an email for work. Could you help me with some doubts I
have?'

Peter: 'No problem, what do you want to know?'
Juan: 'What's the difference between Dear Sir/Madam and Dear
Mr Smith?'

Peter: 'Well, we start an email with both, 'Dear Sir/Madam' is when
you haven't had any contact with the person before and 'Dear Mr' is
when you have. Both are very formal.'

Juan: 'OK. And when do you finish an email with yours
faithfully and yours sincerely?'

Peter: 'Normally, 'yours faithfully' is used with 'Dear Sir/Madam' and
'yours sincerely' with 'Dear Mr'.'

Juan: 'And with titles of people, I suppose Mr is for a man, Mrs is for
a married woman. But I've also seen, Miss and another one, Ms.
What's the difference between these two?'

Peter: ''Miss' is for an unmarried woman. 'Ms' is used when you
don't know if she's married or not.'

Juan: 'I have another question. When I tell people my email
address, I don't know how to say the symbols. It's really difficult
when somebody tells me theirs. Normally, I have to ask them to
write it down.'

Peter: 'Well, mine is [email protected]. You say it like this
Peter Full StopJacks Underscore red At yahoo Dot com.
Remember that when the '.' is before the '@' you always say full
stop and when it is after the '@', it's always dot.'

Juan: 'Thanks Peter.'

Exercise: Advice on email openings
Read the following conversation between Peter and Juan, two work
colleagues, about how to write email openings in business and
professional English.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the
words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if
you are right.

Juan: 'I need to reply to this email and I'm a little confused about
how to start my email. Can you help?'

Peter: 'Well, first of all you need to write that you're replying to their
email. So normally you write Further to your email. Or you could
use With reference to youremail. They are basically the same.
You can use both if your responding to an telephone conversation or
a question somebody asked you in a meeting etc... For example,
"Further to our telephone conversation".'

Juan: 'But what if it's not replying or responding to anything? What
could I use?'

Peter: 'Then use I am writing in reference to.'
Juan: 'And something for both, which is more informal would be?'
Peter: 'I normally start with, I hope everything is ok. Which is
polite small talk. And then depending on what the subject or
purpose of the email is, I would write, "have you heard anything
about...", or "what's happening with..." or "I just thought that I'd let
you know that..."'

Juan: 'And after that. How could I confirm some information?
Something formal.'

Peter: 'I suppose use I can confirm that, if you're going to write
the information in the email. If the information is in a separate file,
then I'd say that I have attached the information in following
document.'

Juan: 'And if I'm confirming good or bad new?'
Peter: 'For bad news, I would use we regret to inform you that.
And for good news we are pleased to inform you that.'

Juan: 'And if you're asking for information?'
Peter: 'Well, a formal way would be could you please confirm. An
informal way would simply be do you know.'

Now do the QUIZ below to make sure
you know how to start an email.

Exercise: Advice on email closings
Read the following conversation between Peter and Juan, two work
colleagues, about how to write email closings in business and
professional English.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the
words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if
you are right.

Juan: 'I have another question Peter, what should I write for closing
an email in English?'

Peter: 'Well, it depends on what you want to happen next. If for
example, you've answered a question they had. I would write, I
hope this answers your question. And then to be very polite you
can offer them the possibility to contact you again about this, by
writing, If you require any further assistance, please do not
hesitate to contact me on my mobile. An informal way would
be Give me a ring if you have any problems.'

Juan: 'But what would I say if I was going to be on holiday or
unavailable? In a formal way.'

Peter: 'Then I would start with I will be out of the office
on Tuesday. Then after that, If you require any further
assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my
colleague Sally Smith on etc...'

Juan: 'What would I say after that sentence and before yours
sincerely?'

Peter: 'If you expect to have more contact with the person, like a
phone call, a meeting, a visit or an email, I would write I look
forward to hearing from you, if it's a phone call or email. If you
are planning to meet or visit them in person, then 'I look forward to
seeing you'. A more informal way to say the same is the same but

use the present continuous, I'm looking forward to hearing from
you.'

Juan: 'If I want them to do something quickly. How could I write that
in the closing part of an email in English?'

Peter: 'If you want to be very direct and aggressive, you could
use Please deal with this matter urgently. Or you can be politer
by writing, I would really appreciate it if you could deal with
this matter urgently.'

Juan: 'And lastly, how could I write 'I'm going to contact them on
Tuesday'?'

Peter: 'Easy, I will contact you on Tuesday.'

Example & Exercise: A business email of request
Read the below informal business email of request about a project in
an airport from a client to an external project manager.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the
words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if
you are right.
Hi Dave,
I hope that everything is OK over there. I just have a few
questions about the Skipton Airport Project.
First, can you give me an update on where you are on the project?
I'd also appreciate if you could explain what the current issues with
the delivery system are? And confirm when you expect them to be
resolved.
Also, at the end of our last meeting I asked for a copy of the latest
Project Report. I still haven't received one. Can you forward it to
me?
Can you also confirm if the post-installation support covers the
equipment 24 hours a day? And what is actually included in the
support? We'd especially like to know if the cost of parts and labour

are included in the package? We need this information as soon as
possible.
And lastly, we're thinking about extending the period of the postinstallation support from your company from 6 months to 12
months. Can you give us a quote for this extension?
Please get back to me with the information as soon as possible.
Thanks,

Ian McAdam
Development Manager
Example & Exercise: A business email of reply
Read the below informal business email of response about a project
in an airport from an external project manager to a client.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the
words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if
you are right.
Hi Ian,
Everything is going well at the moment. We're a little bit busy, but
that's good.
In answer to your email about the current situation with the
Skipton Airport Project, please find the answers to your
questions below:
We successfully completed stage 2 on Monday and currently we're
preparing to start stage 3. In general, the project is going well. We
haven't had any problems with the machinery but there are still
some minor issues with the delivery system. As was said in our last
meeting, the problem with the delivery system is because ofthe
software. It's a very common software issue and we just need time
to correct the code. Don't worry, we're looking into it and we
expect that it will be resolved by the end of the month.

I apologise that you haven't received a copy of the updated Project
Report earlier. I have attached a copy of the report below:
I can confirm that the post-installation support package we offer
includes both remote and call-out site support 24 hours a day, 365
days a year. This covers remote monitoring, a service every 3
months, service engineer visits and the cost of all parts and labour.
Regarding the quote for an extension to the period of postinstallation support from 6 months to 12 months. I think we
should discuss this subject at the next project update meeting.
I hope that this answers your questions.
Give me a ring if you need anything else.
Regards,

David Mitchell
Project Manager

Example & Exercise:
Read the following letter of complaint from a commercial customer
to a supplier regarding problems with a delivery of components.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the
words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if
you are right.
Dear Mrs Boswell,
I wish to draw your attention to an issue we have with a recent
order from yourselves (ref no. 34ED12QP). Not only was the
delivery four days later than agreed, but when we tried to use the
components, we found that 40% of them were damaged and
basically useless.

As is normal, I spoke to your Customer Service Manager, Peter Taylor
on this matter. I expected that you would replace the damaged
components, but this has not been the case. When I last spoke
to Peter, last week, he informed me that the components were
undamaged when delivered to us and that it was our fault. To make
matters worse, he has still not replied to an email I sent to him on
Monday. Not very professional customer service.
As you are aware, we have been a customer of your company for
over 5 years. The damaged components are severely
impacting our production at the moment. We have orders which we
can not send because of this problem with the components.
Although, I appreciate that you are all very busy. I believe that I
am entitled toan explanation why Peter Taylor has not answered
my email, and is refusing to replace the components.
Unless this issue is resolved promptly, then unfortunately, we
will be forced to take further action.
I expect an email from yourself by 5pm today at the latest, to
inform me how you are going to resolve this issue.

Yours sincerely,

Craig Smith
EGO Production Director
Example & Exercise: An email of apology
Read the following letter of apology from a supplier to a commercial
customer regarding problems with a delivery of components.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the
words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if
you are right.

I would recommend that before you read this email and do the
exercise, that you first quickly read the email of complaint which
this email is answering. Reading it, will help you to better
understand the situation, the purpose of the different parts of the
below email and what you need to do to write your own email of
apology.
Dear Mr Smith,
Further to your email of the 17th December 2009 regarding your
order (ref no. 34ED12QP). First of all, please allow me to
apologise for Peter Taylor not responding to your email. I can
confirm that Peter has been on sick leave for the whole of this week.
And although this explains the issue, it does not justify it.
It transpires that there was a miscommunication in his department
and the person who should have been taking care of this issue, did
not. I have already taken all the necessary measures to
ensure that this does not happen again in the future.Thank you
for bringing this matter to my attention.
With regards to the issues about your order, I have taken personal
charge of them. First of all, let me apologise for the late delivery.
We should have made you aware about the delay at the time.
Regarding the damaged components, I can confirm the following:
It is normal policy here that we do not accept liability
for problems with components if we are not notified within 7
working days of delivery. And due to the fact that you did not notify
us until after 15 working days of the delivery, the Customer Service
Department followed procedure.
But as we view you as a valuable customer, and we have worked
together for over five years, rest assured that I will sort out this
issue as a matter of urgency. I have already spoken to the
Production Director here and he will confirm tomorrow when we can
send the replacement components to you. I will update you about
the situation with the components by the end of tomorrow at the
latest.
Could you please confirm if this is adequate?

I do hope that this situation has not damaged your confidence in
working with us.
Once again, please accept our apologises for any
inconvenience caused.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me on mobile
07995 348236

Yours sincerely,
Example & Exercise: Disagreeing in a business email
Read the following business email, where one work colleague is
disagreeing in a direct way with something that another work
colleague has written to him in a previous email.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the
words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if
you are right.
Good Afternoon Peter,
Further to your last email regarding the proposed changes to the
design of the company's website. I can confirm that no decision has
yet been taken and will not be until next month.
With regards to your concerns about the cost of the new design
of the website being excessive, I'm afraid that I cannot agree
with your opinion. I appreciatewhy you believe that spending
$600,000 is excessive. I can reassure you that we have done
everything possible to reduce the overall cost of the project. In fact,
the original offers we received for the project were around $750,000.
Taking into consideration both the size of the website and the
work involved in redesigning and updating the website, in my
opinion, $600,000 is a very good price.
You yourself agreed that the current design of our company's
website looks old and the website is difficult to use. If we do not
carry out design changes in the near future, we will not only lose

more potential customers, but it will also damage our brand image
in the market.
I would be happy to forward to you a copy of the project plan
and the estimated costs. May I suggest that you look at these first
and if you have any suggestions of how the cost can be reduced
further, I would be pleased to hear them.
I hope this addresses your concerns.
If you want to discuss this matter further, don't hesitate to
contact me onmy mobile, 676 005 451.
Best regards,

William Smith
IT Web Manager

Example & Exercise: Giving
bad news
Read the following two business emails where bad news is being
given. In the first, a customer is being informed by a bank that their
credit card has been cancelled by mistake. In the second, one work
colleague is informing another that they are not going to help them
to do something that they had promised.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the
words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if
you are right.

Email 1
Dear Mrs Ryder,
I regret to inform you that due to a mistake on our computer
system, your credit card account with ourselves has been

cancelled. As a result, you will not be able to use the credit card. I
apologise on behalf of our company for this situation happening.
Unfortunately, due to banking regulations we are not legally able
to change your account's status from cancelled to active. In order
to change the status to active, you will have to reapply for the credit
card account again. Once you have done this, we will re-issue you
with a new card as quickly as we can.
Please find below a link to the web page to reapply:
www.bankcards.com/creditcard/appform.html
As a way to recompense you for any trouble this has caused,
we will credit your account when active with £35.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me by
email (on [email protected]) or by phone (on 0242 7433123).
Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience this may
cause.
Yours sincerely,

James Beever
Customer Services Analyst

Email 2
Good Afternoon John,
I'm afraid I won't be able to help you to do the report for the
holiday park.Something very important has just come up and
for the next two weeks I'm going to have to focus all my
attention on it.
I appreciate that it's very late to tell you that I can't help you and I
can only apologise for that.
Have you thought about asking Karen Taylor to help? She has
experience of writing these types of reports.

Sorry again for not being able to help you.
Regards,
Emma

Now do the QUIZ below to make sure
you know how to write this type of
email.
Exercise & Examples: Emails of thanks
Read the following three business emails of thanks. Each email is
either thanking somebody or a group of people for different reasons.
The first email is very formal, the second is neutral (less formal) and
the last email is informal.

Email 1
Dear Mr Trotter,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for showing
myself and my colleague around your factory on Monday. It was both
a very informative and productive visit for both myself and my
colleague. I really appreciate that you took time out of your busy
work schedule to show us around and meet with us.
It was a pleasure to meet with you and your staff. All of
whom treated us with the utmost kindness and respect during
the whole of our visit. If you could pass our thanks onto your
staff, it would be very much appreciated.
Once again, thank you for the visit.
Yours sincerely,

Eric Banner
Account Executive
Merlin Components plc

Email 2

Dear all,
I would just like to make you aware that our company has won
the contract to supply photocopiers to the American government for
the next 3 years.
I would like to thank you all for the hard work you have done
over the last four months. The winning of this contract is a
recognition of all your hard work and dedication that you have
made over the years to make our company great. This wouldn't
have been possible without you.
Thank you,

Ron Lowe
CEO
Runners Ink inc.

Email 3
Hi Peter,
Thanks a lot for sending me a copy of the report. It's really
appreciated.
Regards,
Sally
Exercise & Examples:
In the following 3 emails, Sue Jenkins is trying to persuade three
different people to attend a meeting on an IT problem who had said
they couldn't come. Each of the emails takes a different tactic to
convince the person to attend.
Look at the emails and think about how email is trying to persuade
the person to attend. Then from the context, try to guess what the
meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the
end to check if you are right.

Email 1

Hi Jeff,
Thanks for getting back to me about the meeting.
I appreciate that you're very busy at the moment. As I said in
the invitation I sent you, in the meeting were going to be looking at
the problems we've had with the loss of customer data. To be
honest, we still don't know the full extent. We may have lost the
data for 1,000 customers or 500,000. In addition, there is also some
indications that it could have been stolen.
As you can imagine, no matter what the cause, it's going to have
major consequences on the company. That why we need to be
fully prepared for any eventuality. And that's the reason why we
felt that your attendance was necessary.
If you could reconsider attending the meeting, we'd all
appreciate it.
Regards,
Sue Jenkins

Email 2
Hi Dan,
Thanks for getting back to me about the meeting.
It's a shame that you can't attend the meeting on Thursday. You'll
be the only person invited that won't be attending (The
director of customer services has also asked to attend).
It would have been an excellent opportunity to have all the relevant
areas together to see how we can quickly deal with this problem and
limit the consequences.
It's highly likely that we'll have to organise another
meeting when you can be available. I'll discuss this with the
attendees in the meeting and let you know what they think.
Regards,

Sue Jenkins

Email 3
Hi Sally,
Thanks for letting me know that you can't attend the meeting on
Friday afternoon.
I've spoken to the other attendees (Paul Daniels, Keith Richards
etc...) and we've all agreed that we can move the meeting to a
time and date which is more suitable for your schedule.
Please advise me of a time and a date which is more suitable
for your schedule.
Regards,
Sue Jenkins

Exercise & Examples:
Below are three examples of follow-up emails. The first two are
emails for potential professional/business customers and the last is
to a potential non-business/normal customer. Look at all three
emails and think about what they are trying to do and how they are
doing it.
From the context, think why the vocabulary/phrases in bold are
being used. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Email 1
Hi Sally,
Thank you for speaking with me yesterday. I was wondering whether
you've thought of any more questions about our service that I could
answer for you?
I appreciate that you are very busy, but if you could reply to me
(either by email on [email protected] or by phone on

01262 3417197) it would be much appreciated. If you're too busy,
I'll contact you by phone in a couple of days.
Regards,
Morven Wallace
Sales Executive
Pudsey Info inc.
P.S. Samsang plc has just purchased the same service that you are
interested in buying.

Email 2
Good Morning Jeff,
I hope you are well. We spoke about a month ago about your
interest in improving your customer services department's computer
system.
I've been thinking about your particular situation and I've pulled
together some articles and information on improving customer
service performance which I think will be of great benefit to
you. One of the articles I found is on best practices for tracking
customer calls (see below):
www.ionsystems.com/guides/call_tracking.html
If you'd like, I can send you the rest of the articles and information
by email? Just give me a call (on 07956 45274906) or send me an
email (to [email protected]).
I look forward to hearing from you.
Regards,
Ian Flynn
Sales Manager
Ion Systems inc.

Email 3
Hi Peter,

You recently downloaded a 'buying car insurance guide' from our
website (loanfinder.com). I'd just like to confirm that you've received
it and found it very useful?
We've also produced a number of other guides for buying other
types of insurance products (life, home etc...). Click here to see the
guides.
By the way, have you heard that we've got an excellent offer on car
insurance from Live Safe (only available on our website)?
If you buy before Tuesday 25th May, you'll get a 15%
discount. Plus, we'll add a further discount of 10% onto the offer. So
that means that you're going to save 25% on any insurance product
you buy through our website for Live Safe. Click the below link
and take advantage of this superb offer:
www.loanfinder.com/offers/live_safe.html
If you haven't received your guide or have any questions, don't
hesitate to contact me (Gary Tate) by email
([email protected]) or by phone (0895 657 1004).
I look forward to hearing from you.
Regards,
Gary Tate
Sales Executive
Loanfinder.com
P.S. To receive advice and hear about insurance promotion and
offers, follow us on facebook or google plus.

Example & Exercise:
Read the following email sent by a company to a customer a few
days after they bought a mountain bike from them. Look at both the
vocabulary and structure used in the email and think about why the
email has been written like this and what its purpose are.

Then do the quiz at the end of exercise to make sure you understand
why this follow-up email has been both written and structured.
from: [email protected]
to: [email protected]

subject: Order Number 674321
Hi Sally Jenkins,
You recently purchased a Trek Rock Mountain Bike from ourselves. I
would just like to make sure that you received the mountain bike in
good condition and that you are happy with it.
If for any reason you are not happy with your purchase, please get in
contact with me at [email protected] or 0125 435 616.
To help you service your bike yourself, please find attached below a
'service guide' which we have created for our customers.
To receive more tips (e.g. on repairs, local routes etc...) and
information (e.g. our cycling days out etc...), please join our monthly
email newsletter. To join, click on the link below:
www.bikesdirect.com/newsletter-signup.htm
We really appreciate that you chose us for your purchase.

Regards,
Gordon Banks
Customer Services
Bikes Direct plc
[email protected]
(0125) 435 616

Example & Exercise: A proposal for a training course
Read the following email of proposal where a manager in a bank's
call centre (Peter) is asking his manager (Sally) to approve a
proposal to enroll his staff on a three day sales training course.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the
words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if
you are right.
Hi Sally,
Further to our conversation yesterday about the sales training
course for the members of my staff, please find below the
proposal that I would like you to consider:
As you are aware, all staff in the customer services department
are now expected to promote our company's products and services
when speaking to existing customers by phone. Since the beginning
of this year, the performance of the department is now partly based
on how many sales are generated.
As you yourself have said, the results since we started promoting
have been disappointing. We have not met any of the sales targets
which have been set for the call centre. No matter what we have
done to improve sales rate (increasing commissions per sale,
punishing staff who don't try to promote etc...), they have not
increased.
After conducting an extensive investigation into the issue,
through monitoring incoming customer calls into the call centre and
performing interviews with staff, I have created a report (a copy of
which is attached at the bottom of the email). This report identifies
that the problem lies with the staff.
It shows that it's not that the staff don't want to sell and promote
the products or services, but that they don't know how to do it. Few
have any prior experience of selling any type of products or
services. They don't understand how to persuade/convince people to
buy or identify what products or services would be of most use or
interest to the person they are speaking to. No matter what we

do, until they learn how to do this, sales conversions are going
to continue to remain low.
That is why I propose we undertake a sales training course to
teach essential sales skills to the customer services staff in the call
centre. After contacting a number of different companies, I have
found a training course which would be the most suitable for our
needs. It's run by APC Sales Training. Not only do they have one of
the best reputations in the industry (they are used by Barclays,
HSBC, ING etc...) but one of my ex-colleagues used them in the
customer services department which she runs and said sales
conversions more than doubled as a result.
I have already contacted APC Sales Training and they have devised a
three day sales training course designed specifically for our needs
(their proposed course outline is attached at the bottom of the
email).
The cost of the three day course they are proposing is £1,200 per
participant. That includes all materials, food and drinks, and room
hire.
I appreciate that money is a concern. And I admit that the three
day training course is not cheap. That is why I propose that we
initially limit the number of staff who undertake the course to four
customer service assistants. We can then monitor their performance
when they return to see if the course has lead to a significant
improvement in their sales conversion. If it does, we can talk about
enrolling the rest of the customer service assistants in the call
centre on to the course.
I really believe that this proposal is both the most effective and
quickest way that we can improve our sales performance. If we don't
train the staff how to sell, the chances of meeting the sales targets
for the call centre are extremely low.
I'd appreciate to hear what you think about the proposal.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me by
either email or phone (07930 522356).

Regards,
Peter Smith
Example & Exercise: The report
Imagine that you are the manager of a customer services
department in a small bank. A recent customer survey has shown
that a lot of customers are not happy with the service provided by
the help desk which takes customer calls. You have asked one of
your staff to review the performance of the help desk and make
recommendations on how it can be improved.
Below is the report that they have created:

Report on the customer help
desk's inbound customer call
performance
Introduction
The following report evaluates the current performance level of our
customer help desk based in Pudsey, Leeds. It focuses on its
performance when dealing with inbound customer enquiries made
by phone.
This report was produced in response to the results of a recent
customer survey. This survey identified a high level of customer
dissatisfaction with our company's help desk. Of the 1506 customers
who left a rating for the help desk in the survey, 1254 of those rated
the service as bad or terrible. Of this 1254, 67% gave the reason for
their dissatisfaction as 'call waiting time', while 25% said that the
'service is unhelpful'.
The purpose of this report is to identify failings with the current set
up of the help desk which could account for this low customer rating.
And to recommend changes to the help desk to improve the service
provided to customers.

Procedure
The findings which are contained in this report are predominantly
based on a combination of statistics from the help desk's call
management system (CallCom) and random monitoring of calls (100
in total) between customers and help desk analysts. Both the
statistics and the call monitoring stem from the same 7 day period
(4 May to the 11 May 2015).
In order to ensure the integrity of the results, during the period of
evaluation, nobody in the help desk section was aware that an
evaluation was being conducted.
After this 7 day period, a number of interviews with staff at the help
desk (the manager of the section, a team leader and 6 help desk
analysts) were then conducted to hear their views and opinions.
In addition to the above, I also reviewed the processes and
procedures in place at the help desk for dealing with inbound call
customer enquiries.

Findings
Customer waiting time

From reviewing the statistics from CallCom, one thing did stand out,
the customer waiting time (before a call is answered by an help desk
analyst). The length of customer waiting time varied throughout the
day. During most of the day, the average waiting time for customers
was around 25 seconds, but during 5pm to 9pm (except on
weekends), this rose to an average of 3 minutes and 44 seconds.
These 4 hours of the day, coincide with the highest call volume of
the day for the help desk. On average, 41% of all calls each day
were received during these 4 hours.

Chart showing the average customer weekday waiting time and the average
percentage of calls received during the period of the study.

During these peak hours of call volume, the help desk does have
more analysts answering customer calls. On average 10 extra staff
(mainly part-time) are answering customer calls during these peak
hours.
Length of call

Not only did customer waiting time increase during these peak
hours, but there was also an increase in how long staff were actually
speaking with customers during these hours as well. During 5pm to
9pm (except on weekends), the average time that analysts spoke to
customers increased from 4 minutes 23 seconds to 7 minutes and
59 seconds.

Chart showing the average length of help desk analyst speaking time with
customers during the period of the study.

During these peak hours of call volume, the nature of the calls did
not differ significantly from those received during the rest of the day.
But what did stand out was a difference between the length of time
that full-time analysts spoke to customers during these peaks hours
(on average 6 minutes and 56 seconds) and part-time analysts (on
average 9 minutes and 28 seconds).
The statistics from ComCall indicated that although part-time
analysts performed only slightly slower than their full-time
counterparts on simple enquiries (e.g. confirming account and
balance information), they performed significantly slower on more
complex enquiries (e.g. freezing and resetting accounts).
Monitoring of customers calls supports this. On more complex
enquiries, part-time staff put their customers on hold more often and
for longer while they consulted with other staff to find out what they
had to do.
Call procedures and processes

The procedures and processes that are in place in the help desk for
dealing with customer enquiries meet the industry's highest
standards (the standards set down in the Financial Services
Association's customer service best practices).

Through monitoring calls between customers and help desk
analysts, I can confirm that the vast majority of analysts always
followed set procedures when dealing with customer enquiries.
Furthermore, except for one or two occasions, they dealt with
customers in a professional manner (even when customers were
aggressive).
The help desk's customer application system

From conducting interviews with help desk analysts, one of the
things they stated was an issue was the slowness of the help desk's
customer application system. In particular, they stated that the
system had a tendency to run slow at peak hours (between 5pm to
9pm on weekdays). Resulting in them taking longer to deal with
customer enquiries.
The monitoring of customer calls seems to confirm this. Analysts
performed tasks using the system a lot slower when there were
more staff taking calls (during peak call volume hours) than when
there were less staff taking calls during the rest of the day.

Conclusion
The findings of this report on the help desk's performance would
strongly seem to indicate that there is a problem with dealing with
customer calls only during the hours of peak call volume (between
5pm to 9pm on weekdays). During these peak hours, the average
waiting time for customers was nearly 10 times higher than during
other times of the day (from an average of 25 seconds to an
average of 3 minutes and 44 seconds).
Although it would appear that simply increasing the number of help
desk staff taking calls would resolve this issue, the rise in the
average time that analysts spoke to customers when dealing with
enquiries (an average of 7 minutes and 59 seconds at peak call
volumes in comparison with an average 4 minutes 23 seconds
outside of these hours) would indicate that it is not only a problem of
not having enough staff on at these times.
Although having more staff taking customer calls at these time
should reduce the average customer waiting time, it would not

address the issue of customer enquiries taking longer to resolve at
these times. It would appear that this is the main factor causing the
longer waiting times that customers are experiencing.
The findings would appear to demonstrate that this issue is caused
by two main reasons:
 The help desk's customer application system
 The underperformance of part-time staff
The first (and most important) reason is that there appears to be a
problem with the help desk's customer application system. It
appears to run a lot slower during periods of peak call volume when
more analysts are logged on and using it.
The second reason is that part-time staff complete tasks slower on
average than their full-time colleagues. This would appear to not
stem from a lack of willingness on their part to answer calls quickly,
but that they have less experience on resolving more complex
customer enquiries.

Recommendations
On the basis of the above findings, I make the following
recommendations:
1. Request the I.T. department to perform an investigation into the
problems experienced with the help desk customer application
system as soon as possible.
2. Undertake a training programme for part-time help desk staff to
improve their knowledge and speed in dealing with customer
enquiries (especially more complex enquiries).

Contact
If you require any clarification or further information on the report,
please do not hesitate to contact myself (James Smith) by email
([email protected]) or by phone (01535 666541).

Example & Exercise: Feedback to a colleague
Read the following email where Chris is giving his opinion/feedback
to another work colleague (Simon) about a customer information
application that Simon has made/created.
Hi Simon,
I hope you are well?
As you asked, I've been using your new software application for
adding customer information for the past couple of days. Overall,
I've been very impressed withhow easy it is to learn. Within 5
minutes of opening it, I knew what I had to do. I wish other
applications were so easy to learn.
Also, I love the design of the application. It looks modern and simple.
There are a few things which I think could be improved:
I'm not sure that it's necessary to have so many input fields for
the information. It took me nearly 10 minutes to complete the form
for each new customer. I don't think that it's necessary to know if
the customer is married or what their nationality is. The longer we
keep new customers on the phone when adding their personal
details to our database, the less likely they are to return.
In addition, have you thought about making some of the input
fields automatically complete information? You could use the
post/zip code to automatically add the street name, town and
country for each customer. Making the form quicker to
complete.
A couple of times I couldn't see what I had written. For me, the
size of the letters/fonts isn't big enough. If I were you, I would
consider making the letters/font bigger.
Although I think experienced staff will find it easy to complete the
form with customers' information on the application, new staff may
struggle. As you know, new staff often don't know exactly what
information to take from a customer or they complete fields with the
wrong type of information. Can you think of a way to help new

staff complete the form correctly without them having to ask other
staff in the call centre?
As I said before, overall I think the application is very good. I just
think with some minor changes, it could be even better.
Contact me if you want to go over what I've suggested.

Take care,
Chris
Example & Exercise: Emails of rejection
Read the following two emails of rejection. In the first email, a
company is turning down an unrequested/unsolicited offer they have
received to buy photocopiers. In the second email, a company is
informing another company that they have been unsuccessful in a
bid for a contract.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the
words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if
you are right.

Email 1
Dear Mr Boxall,
Thank you for your enquiry about supplying our company with
new photocopying equipment.
Unfortunately, we are currently not in need of replacing our
existing photocopiers. We recently entered a new 2 year contract
with our existing photocopier provider.
You would be more than welcome to contact us again when
our current contract is up for renewal.
Yours sincerely,

Jeff Thompson
Office Manager

Email 2
Dear Mrs Robinson,
Thank you for submitting a bid for the re-design of our
website. After careful consideration of all the proposals we
received for the contract, I regret to inform you that on this
occasion your bid has been unsuccessful. We have decided to
offer the contract to one of the other bidders.
Although your proposal was very professional and well-thought
out, we felt thatthe design didn't focus enough on the social media
channels our company uses and it was a little over complicated and
confusing to use.
We will be more than happy to consider you for any web
development or redesign projects we have in the future.
If you require any further feedback, please do not hesitate
to contact me by email on [email protected] or by
phone on 01535 6547196.
Yours sincerely,

David Mitchell
Project Manager

Now do the QUIZ b

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