One must use a great amount of professionalism and courtesy when replying to a business letter. Whether it is an inquiry or a complaint from one of your clients or business associates it is important to make your response in a formal and timely manner.
Use a company letterhead or stationery. When writing any type of business letter, it is a must to use your company stationary with your business logo or letterhead. Open your letter with the appropriate salutation and name of the sender. If you are replying to a person with higher authority, a boss or a manager, a formal style is the best and safest way to start. Use Ms, Mr. or Mrs., followed by the person's last name. Do not use the person's first name unless you are well acquainted with one another.
The objective of your business reply letter is to provide answers to inquiries and/or solutions and clarifications about certain complaints. Do not forget to mention some key phrases from the original letter to give your contact an impression that you have read and understood the message that the person is trying to convey. Start your opening statement with courteous lines such as "Thank you for your letter about" or "With reference to your letter of (date)."
Keep in mind that your letter must be able to address the sender's inquiries or concerns. If you do not have the information to answer the inquiries, then you must direct or forward the request or inquiry to the right person. If you happen to be the right person, then respond quickly. Do not procrastinate.
Avoid being too defensive, rude or judgmental especially when responding to complaints. A complaint usually arises when your client or your colleague somehow fails to understand or misinterpret some of your policies or services. Reply and state your case politely. It is also important to respond in a simple and direct to the point manner that can be easily comprehended by your clients. Use humble phrases such as "I am deeply sorry for whatever inconvenience this might have caused you" or "It would be my pleasure to speak with you for further clarifications regarding this matter." Show your clients your willingness to act and make adjustments to satisfy their requests.
Be clear and concise. If you are responding to multiple inquiries or requests, it would be best to use a bulleted list to provide a straightforward and clear information or answers to each of your contact's concerns. Keep in mind that most of your clients might be very busy or some may lack certain comprehension abilities so it is better to keep it simple yet concise. Avoid using complex words and too elaborate statements.
Close your letter with a phrase stating your final apology or reference to a future event related to your business. Some effective closing lines are "I look forward to hearing from you" or "Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me." Do not forget to sign your complimentary close as "Yours faithfully," for recipients who are unknown to you or "Yours sincerely," if you know the person.
Make sure that you have thoroughly read and reviewed your letter before printing it out or sending it to your client. Revise and edit for possible spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors.
Keep in mind that your reliability and ability to handle and address your customers' needs, whether about a simple inquiry or a major complaint, are crucial to keep a good business running. Offer further assistance at the end of your letter and do not forget to include your contact details and information.