How to Write a Business Letter to Customers
When you own a business, you will likely need to write letters to your customers. You may be writing to tell them of new events or specials, or you may be responding to a customer complaint on behalf of your company. Regardless of the reason for the letter, you must always maintain a professional tone.
Sample Business Letters
Formatting the Business Letter
Use a professional letterhead.The business letter will be a representation of your company. So it should look distinct and high quality. It should also bear your company’s logo or brand.
- You can create a letterhead using predesigned color letterhead templates in Microsoft word. Be sure to use your existing logo or brand in the letterhead.
Open a word processing program.You should always type up a business letter on a computer.
- Create a new document and set up 1 inch margins for the document.
- Use a serif font such as Times New Roman, Georgia or Ariel. Be sure to use a font size that is no larger than 12 points, but no smaller than 10 points. The letter should not be difficult to read because of font choice or font size.
- Make sure the document is set to single spaced.
Set up the block form.The block form is the most common format used for business letters. It is also the easiest to setup and follow. Each heading must be left aligned and there should be one space between each heading. Beginning from the top the bottom of the document, your business letter should have the following headings:
- Today’s date, or the date you are sending the letter. The date is important as it can be used for your records and the receiver’s records. As well, it may have legal use. So make sure it is accurate.
- The sender’s address. This is your address, formatted in the standard address style. If your address already appears in your letterhead, you can skip this heading.
- The inside address. This is the name and address of the person you are writing to. The use of Mr/Mrs is optional. So, for example, if you were writing to Nina Brown, you can leave the Ms/Miss off of her name if you are not sure what her marital status is.
- The salutation. This could be “Dear Ms Brown” or “Dear Nina Brown”. If you are not sure who is going to be reading the letter, use “Dear Sir, or Dear Madam”.You can also use “To Whom It May Concern”, but only as a last resort if you have no idea who your audience is.
- The body of the letter. We will focus more on this in the next section of the article.
- The closing of the letter, with a signature. This could be “Sincerely”, or “Kind Regards”.
Writing the Business Letter
Identify your audience.The tone of the letter should always remain professional, regardless of the audience. But you will likely adjust your language or word choice based on who you are writing to. If you are writing to the human resources department at another business, you may need to use more formal language. But if you are writing to a specific customer, you may use more informal or casual language.
- Identifying your audience also means you will avoid confusing your audience. Avoid using terminology your reader won't understand. A customer likely won't know the acronyms used for the space program at your company, for example, so avoid using them in the letter.
- The number one rule of writing a good business letter is to be clear, concise, and courteous.
State the purpose of the letter in the first line.Consider the purpose of the letter. Is it to let your customers know about your new location in a new part of town? Is it to remind a customer about an unpaid bill or outstanding balance? Or respond to a customer complaint? With this purpose in mind, craft a first line that lets the reader know right away what the letter will be about. Don’t be vague about the purpose of the letter. Cut to the chase.
- Start by using “I” if you are stating your opinion as a business owner. Use “we” if you are writing on behalf of a company or organization.
- Focus on a direct statement such as: “We are writing to inform you” or “We are writing to request”. You can also use an “I” statement if you are writing as the owner of the business. Such as: “I am contacting you because” or “I recently heard about...and would like to know more about…”
- For example, you (the business owner) are writing Nina Brown about an unpaid bill from last month. Begin the letter with: “I am contacting you because you have an outstanding balance on your account from March 2015.”
- Or, you are an employee at a company and are writing in response to a customer complaint against the company’s space program. Begin the letter with: “We received your complaint about our Mars space program.”
- You may be writing to inform the reader they won a contest, or they received a spot in a graduate program. Begin with a phrase like: “I am delighted to inform you…” Or “We are excited to inform you…”.
- If you’re delivering bad news, begin with a phrase like: “We regret to inform you…”. Or, “After careful consideration, I have decided not to…”.
Use the active, rather than the passive, voice.We use the passive voice all the time in common speech. But the passive voice can make your writing seem dull or confusing. The active voice is much more effective in a business letter because it establishes a more assertive tone.
- An example of the passive voice might be: “What specific complaints can I address for you?” The subject of the sentence, the customer ("you"), appears at the end of the sentence, rather than at the beginning of the sentence.
- An example of the active voice might be: “What can I do to address your complaints?” This version of the phrase, in the active voice, is much clearer and easier to understand for the reader.
- The use of the passive voice can be a good way to get your message across without calling attention to an error or an unflattering point. But use it only in this instance. In general, the active voice is much more effective in business letters.
Refer to a previous event or a previous communication with the reader, if applicable.Maybe you contacted Nina Brown earlier last month with a warning about her unpaid bill. Or perhaps a customer expressed their frustration with the space program last month at a conference. If you have already been in touch with the reader, acknowledge this. It will remind the reader of your previous contact and make the business letter feel more immediate and important.
- Use a phrase like: “Per my previous letter about your unpaid bill…” or “Thank you for your payment in March." Or “It was very useful to hear about your issues with the space program at the conference in May.”
Make a request or offer help.Establish a positive tone with the reader by making a polite request or offering help in the form of a working relationship.
- Say you are a business owner trying to get a customer to pay a bill. Use a phrase like: “I would appreciate your immediate attention in the matter of your unpaid bill.”
- Say you are writing on behalf of your company. Use a phrase like: “We would like to set up a face to face meeting with you and our head of Human Resources.”
- You should also offer to answer any questions or concerns the reader may have. Use a phrase like: “I would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your bill.” Or, “Would you like us to provide you with more details about the program?”
Wrap up the letter.Include a call to action, on your part, or on the part of the reader. This could be a demand for payment by a certain date, or a note about setting up a formal meeting with the reader.
- Include a sentence about talking to the receiver of the letter in the future. “I look forward to seeing you at the budget meeting next week." Or “Looking forward to discussing this further with you during your visit to our headquarters.”
- Note any documents you have including with your letter. Add a phrase like “Please find enclosed your unpaid bill” or “You will find enclosed a copy of our space outreach program.”
- End the letter with a closing phrase. Use “Sincerely” or “Sincerely yours” for clients or customers.
- Use “Yours faithfully” for formal letters to individuals you do not know at all.
- Only use “Regards” or “Best” if you are writing to someone you know well or have a working relationship with.
Proofread the letter.All your careful formatting and writing will be for naught if the letter is full of spelling errors!
- Look for any instances of the passive voice, and try to adjust the sentence to the active voice.
- Notice any sentences that run long or are not clear and direct. In a business letter, less is usually more, so pare down the length of your sentences if possible.
QuestionHow do I write a letter to my customer about tax added in bills?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFollow the structure of a formal letter to write to your customer about tax added in bills.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I write a refusal letter about a damaged laptop?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerExplain clearly, politely, and firmly the reasons you are refusing to fix or replace the damaged laptop. Thank them for their business and offer a number where they can reach you.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I write a letter to my customers about our company changing its company name?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSay something like: "We're going to change the of our business name to ----------. This better reflects the direction our company is now taking and is also in recognition of our larger team able to provide you with the best possible service. Please find enclosed our new fridge magnet and calendar as gifts to help you to remember our new name. New name but the same wonderful attention to your needs. Bob the CEO."Thanks!
QuestionHow do I write a letter to my customers that I can no longer accept their business?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWrite something like, "I'm sorry" first. Then say that because of circumstances, you can't accept their business anymore.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I write to my customers notifying them of a single point of contact in my company?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerReach out to that person, or try to improve your business letter with another paragraph. The more informative the better.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I dissolve a relationship with a client?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSimply write to them telling them why you want to dissolve the relationship and wish them the best.Thanks!
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- When printing the letter, use 8 x 11 sized unlined paper. If you are mailing the letter, fold it into thirds and mail it in a standard envelope.
To write a business letter to customers, use a professional-looking letterhead that features your business name or logo. Open with a polite salutation and state the purpose of the letter right away in the first line. To establish an assertive tone, be sure to write in the active voice, adding any relevant details to clarify the letter's purpose. Wrap up your letter with a call to action and don't forget to proofread the letter carefully before sending it out!
Sources and Citations
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