Writing Routine Business Messages Discussion Questions

Making Messages Concise and Courteous

Revising Messages: Directness and Conciseness Revise the following short e-mail messages that are more direct and concise; develop a subject line for each revised message.

Instructions:Read the following short email messages. Under each original message, rewrite the email so that it is professional in tone, objective, accurate, concise, courteous, and specific. (Remember to use the ‘You’ Attitude and see the message from your audience’s perspective.)

1) I’m contacting you about your recent email request for technical support on your cable internet service. Part of the problem we have in tech support is trying to figure out exactly what each customer’s specific problem is so that we can troubleshoot quickly and get you back in business as quickly as possible. You may have noticed that in the online support request form, there are a number of fields to enter your type of computer, operation system, memory, and so on. While you did tell us you were experiencing slow download speeds during certain times of the day, you didn’t tell us which time specifically, nor did you complete all the fields telling us about your computer. Please return to our support website and resubmit your request, being sure to provide all the necessary information; then we’ll be able to help you.

Revised Message:

2) Thank you for contacting us about the difficulty you had collecting your luggage at Orlando International Airport. We are very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. As you know, traveling can create problems of this sort regardless of how careful the airline personnel might be. Also, had you packed your bags a little lighter, it would have been easier for our personnel to throw them in the plane and keep track of them. Perhaps, think about that next time. Anyway, to receive compensation, please send us a detailed list of the items that you lost and complete the following questionnaire. You can email it back to us.

Revised Message:

3) We’re letting you know that because your office uses over a ton of paper a year and because so much of that paper goes into the wastebasket to become so much more environmental waste, starting Monday, we’re placing white plastic bins outside the elevators on every floor to recycle that paper and, in the process, minimize pollution. There is no justification for the use of that much paper by an office staff of 60 people. We have to consider the environment and how we are chopping trees and losing natural habitat when it would be so much easier for your office to go digital and minimize the amount of paper you use. The plastic bins will be marked ‘recyclable’ so require your staff to only place paper and paper products in these bins. Also, consider having training sessions informing them of better ways to use their paper products so they are not constantly wasting paper unnecessarily.

Revised Message:

4) We need you to start using some of the budget suggestions we issued last month regarding company travel. These include using videoconference equipment and web conferencing instead of traveling to meetings, staying in cheaper hotels, arranging flights at cheaper times, booking flights in the coach and economy sections, and flying from less-convenient but also less-expensive suburban airports. The company needs to cut travel expenses by 50 percent, just as we’ve cut costs in all departments. This means you’ll no longer be able to stay in fancy hotels and make last-minute, costly changes to your travel plans. You’ll also be expected to avoid hotel surcharges for food, phone calls, and Internet access. If the hotel you want to stay in doesn’t offer free wireless, go somewhere else. And never, NEVER return a rental car with an empty tank!

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