Acting Tip: Acting Resumes, Cover Letters, and Headshots, Oh My!

If you want to really stand out as an actor (and I think you do), you will have to make your resume stand out for you.

Your resume, cover letter, and headshot are really the first impressions you’ll ever make. They act as your agent–good ones get you auditions, bad ones don’t…

So, how does one go about standing out from the rest of the crowd? Well, first of all, you have to think like a marketer. What makes YOU interesting and unique as an actor? This is you USP (Unique Selling Point). Your resume and cover letter act as your USP…

In order to make your resume and cover letters really effective, you must follow a few simple guidelines:

For your resume, divide the page into two parts–one part for your actual resume, one part for testimonials (yes, testimonials!). Testimonials should be from former directors, playwrights, etc. and they shouldn’t be hard to get. Just ask! (but be sure to get their permission to use their testimonial on your resume) Include the name and position of the person underneath each testimonial quote.

If you are just starting out, include EVERYTHING acting-related on your resume–list every acting job you’ve ever had–no matter how small or big the part (yes, even the non-speaking parts!). Remember, you are trying to fill out your resume–list as much as you can. As time goes by, pick off the less glamorous acting parts and replace them with the true gems that highlight your best work.

Include a small thumbnail headshot of yourself on your resume. This will ensure that if your headshot and resume ever do get separated, your photo will be forever intact ON your resume.

Actors have little time to spend on marketing themselves–let alone anything else non-acting related. For this reason, you should have two form letters ready to go at all times–one for theater, one for film/television. Keep it short and sweet. Your letter should include a brief introduction, your purpose for writing in, your recent endeavors, and a friendly closing. For example, my cover letter states: I’m writing you today because I am very interested in auditioning for your play (or ‘film’ or ‘project’–depending on what you’re submitting for) . I know your time is valuable, so I’ll make this short: I would really appreciate it if you could take a moment to review my headshot and resume and let me know if you’d like to meet with me. Again, your letter should include your most recent or current work (try to include pictures within the body of the letter), what classes you’re taking, etc. Then wrap it up with something short and sweet like: Thank you for your time and consideration. I’d love to meet with you. I can be reached at XXX-XXX-XXXX. I hope to hear from you soon. And then, sign your name to it.

When sending a headshot and resume via email, use the same cover letter used in regular mailings–simply cut and paste it into the text portion of your email (remember, you’re trying to save time, so make it easy on yourself!). Don’t forget to attach your headshot–and make sure to size the headshot appropriately.

Headshots should look like how you look right now. If your headshot doesn’t look like how you look now, get a new one…

You don’t have to spend a big chunk of change on a reputable, big deal, bells-and-whistles photographer to get a nice headshot. Just look around and find someone who has a pretty good portfolio and low prices. I got my headshot done by a photographer who was just starting out. I got a great deal on my headshots and she used my images in her portfolio. A win-win situation!

Get an 8″ x 10″, black and white headshot (which is standard).

I recommend keeping it simple–your clothing, jewelry, etc. You want YOU (not your clothing and accouterments) to stand out.

That wraps up our section on resumes, cover letters, and headshots. I hope this section has inspired you to make your HS/resume kit brilliant!

175 Power Verbs and Phrases for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

While you’re revamping your resume or cover letter or constructing your proof-by-example stories for interviews, you’ll find you need to watch your word choice. Why? Communication is powerful if the words we use to communicate are powerful. That’s not all it takes, but the right words make for a good beginning.

So as you craft achievement statements or write paragraphs that sell your skills or draft interview responses to knock the employers’ socks off, consider these suggestions:

  • Use verbs in active tense, not passive tense.
  • Use verbs that convey power and action.
  • Use verbs that claim the highest level of skill or achievement you can legitimately claim.
  • Use verbs to accurately describe what you have done on the job.
  • Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly, but when you use them, use them well.
  • Use nouns that are as specific and as descriptive as possible.
  • Use numbers whenever possible.
  • Use the most impressive (and still honest) form of the number you use.
  • Never lie! It IS NOT worth it. It WILL catch up with you.
  • Proofread all your verbs and nouns for agreement, tense and appropriateness.

Here, then, are 175 powerful verbs and phrases to make use of in resumes, cover letters and interviews:

  • abated
  • abolished
  • accelerated
  • accomplished
  • achieved
  • actively participated
  • administered
  • advanced
  • advised
  • aggressively analyzed
  • applied
  • assumed a key role
  • authored
  • automated
  • built
  • hired
  • closed
  • coached
  • co-developed
  • codirected
  • co-founded
  • cold called
  • collected
  • co-managed
  • communicated
  • completed
  • computerized
  • conceptualized
  • conducted
  • consolidated
  • contained
  • contracted
  • contributed
  • controlled
  • convinced
  • coordinated
  • cost effectively created
  • critiqued
  • cut
  • dealt effectively
  • decreased
  • defined
  • delivered
  • designed
  • developed
  • developed and applied
  • directed
  • doubled
  • earned
  • eliminated
  • emphasized
  • enforced
  • established
  • evaluated
  • exceeded
  • executed
  • exercised
  • expanded
  • expedited
  • facilitated
  • filled
  • focused
  • formulated
  • fostered
  • founded
  • gained
  • generated
  • ground-breaking
  • headed up
  • helped
  • identified
  • implemented
  • improved
  • increased
  • initiated
  • innovated
  • instituted
  • instructed
  • integrated
  • interviewed
  • introduced
  • investigated
  • lectured
  • led
  • leveraged
  • maintained
  • managed
  • marketed
  • motivated
  • negotiated
  • orchestrated
  • organized
  • outmaneuvered
  • overcame
  • oversaw
  • penetrated
  • performed
  • permitted
  • persuaded
  • planned
  • played a key role
  • positioned
  • prepared
  • presented
  • prevented
  • produced
  • profitably
  • project managed
  • promoted
  • proposed
  • prospected
  • protected
  • provided
  • published
  • quadrupled
  • ranked
  • received
  • recommended
  • recruited
  • reduced
  • removed
  • renegotiated
  • replaced
  • researched
  • resolved
  • restored
  • restructured
  • reversed
  • satisfied
  • saved
  • scheduled
  • scoped out
  • selected
  • self-financed
  • set up
  • sold
  • solved
  • staffed
  • started
  • stopped
  • streamlined
  • substituted
  • supervised
  • taught
  • tightened
  • took the lead in
  • trained
  • trimmed
  • tripled
  • troubleshooted
  • turned around
  • upgraded
  • yielded

While you certainly can use the list anytime you’re looking to say something in a more powerful way, you can also use it to help jog your memory about accomplishments on present and past jobs that you might otherwise overlook. Also, consider using the list to help you refine your resumes and cover letters to be more powerful in their presentation and communication.

Sample Hardship Letters Helping to Save Your Home

A foreclosure for anyone can be devastating financially, emotionally and psychologically. Your family is forced to physically move away from friends, family and neighbors that they have come to love and lean on. As if that is not enough, you have to face incessant calls from bill collectors and explain to them that you are still unable to pay your bills.

The foreclosure process is not only lengthy it can be humiliating. As soon as a homeowner realizes that they are in over their heads, a financial hardship letter becomes a way out, or light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Written properly, a financial hardship letter can result in a positive outcome for all parties involved.

Contrary to popular opinion, lenders do not relish the idea of losing money in a soft market due to foreclosures. They have to look at the loss of income due to an empty property and the expensive legal fees that it costs them to actually precede with a foreclosure.

Lenders are also not realtors. It is not their job to try to sell your home and as a result, they are inadequate at it. They must now finance the maintenance, insurance, security and marketing of a home that they know very little about. They may have the black and white facts about it, but they know nothing about details of selling your home. The simple writing of a financial hardship letter can help to avert this fate for both you and the lender. Federal funds have been put in place that will help the lender, through the loss mitigator, give the homeowner options to avoid a foreclosure.

Loan modification is dependent solely on the initial submission of a financial hardship letter. This gives the lender a written decree of reasons that the homeowner has fallen behind on payments. This letter gives the loss mitigator a glimpse into the financial and personal reasons of the homeowner’s hardship. It also gives the lender personal reasons to help the homeowner try to salvage the mortgage with either a short sale or loan modification.

The lender will want to know as much information as possible about why the homeowner has fallen behind. The financial hardship letter gives the lender this information in a clear and concise manner. They need this information to be able to refinance or offer a short sale.

The lender will need to know the following details in your financial hardship letter:

1. Is this an ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage)?

2. Has the borrower been convicted of a crime that may cause prison time?

3. What is the current state of the borrower’s income?

4. Has there been some catastrophic illness in the family?

5. Has their been a layoff or job loss?

6. Is the borrower having to commute a long distance to survive?

7. Has their been a business failure?

8. Has their been a death in the family effecting contributions to the mortgage?

9. Is the primary borrower divorcing?

10. Is the borrower out for a military post?

11. Has their been significant damage to the home due to weather or fire?

A financial hardship sample letter is the key to a homeowner getting a timely answer to their request for loan modification. This sample letter will make sure that you have all the necessary information that a loss mitigator will need to help you as soon as possible to avoid foreclosure on your home.

Cover Letters – Purpose and Structure

Cover letters are not so much a part of your “Job Seeker’s Tool Kit” as they are part of the implementation of your overall “self marketing” strategy. That’s right – a cover letter is a sales presentation in disguise!

With cover letters, you’re reaching out for a very tangible goal – a job interview. Cover letters are the most commonly used method to introduce your credentials to an employer. And they can serve as one of your strongest selling tools!

Avoid the “standard, boring” types of cover letters that employers receive every day. “I’m very interested in a position with Motley Corporation as a programming analyst. Enclosed please find my resume… ” A letter like this basically says, “Hey, I need a job and here’s my resume!” Not a very impressive sales presentation, is it? More importantly, it does nothing to distinguish you from the crowd of other applicants sending the very same kind of drab, standard letters with their drab, standard resumes.

In a professional-level search, there are different letters for different purposes!

There are many times during the implementation of your full search campaign when you will rely on a written letter to speak for you. The way you present yourself on paper can make or break your success during any phase of the process.

Just think about all the different situations in which letters might be useful in opening doors, making a strong first impression, and in keeping your candidacy on the “front burner” in the eyes of key decision-makers. These include:

* Letter responding to an advertised opening

* Letter following-up on a personal or professional referral (this one is my favorite)

* Letter introducing yourself to a decision-maker (called the “cold approach letter” – my least favorite type of cover letter)

* Thank you letter (after first meeting)

* Follow-up letter (after multiple meetings/interviews)

* Response to a job offer letter

* And others…

In general, there are three parts of a cover letter – and the middle part is a kind of sales presentation. Here is the outline:

Part 1: Introduction – Explain why you’re writing to the employer. Did you see a job posting; were you referred by a friend or colleague; did you see one of their executives present at a conference or meeting; did you read something in the business press about the company? Be specific and use your research. Give the recipient of your correspondence a sense of your knowledge by referring to industry trends, specific events, or media coverage. This is the best way to demonstrate your interest in the organization.

Part 2: The Sales Presentation – To sell yourself effectively, tell the employer your qualifications and give examples of your relevant experience. The same elements that make your resume effective work in your cover letter: use action words; be brief; be specific. Write about particular accomplishments and use facts and numbers to back them up.

Part 3: Wrap-up and Close – Be sure to restate in one sentence what you can do for the organization. Wrap-up your cover letter as strongly as you opened it. Restate your interest in working with the company, and why. It’s difficult for an employer to resist genuine interest and enthusiasm, combined with your knowledge of the company! Close the letter by directly requesting an interview. Take charge of the process by stating a timeframe in which you will call. Then follow-up precisely as promised, to demonstrate how responsible and professional you are!

As you can now see, cover letters can serve many purposes – the most important of which is to “sell you” when you aren’t personally in front of the hiring manager. When your cover letters are written correctly, they should create a great deal of leverage in your job search. This, in turn, will lead to more interviews and ultimately more job offers!

20 Ways to Increase Sales With Direct Mail Letters

1. Adapt letter-headed paper

If you’re using company letterhead for direct mail then adapt it to your requirements. The company name and selling benefit should stand out. If you want people to email you, then the email address should stand out. If you want them to phone, then make the phone number prominent. Use the footer as a place to increase sales by drawing attention to a trade association or quality control mark. Make legal information as small as possible.

2. Postal replies

Do you want potential customers to reply by post? Include a pre-paid envelope.

3. Long letters

Don’t be afraid to write long letters (over a page). Nobody will buy something without enough information to make a decision. Keep selling until you have run out of sales points. Every word should be relevant – no rambling.

4. Be friendly

Address your letter to a known person if at all possible because it shows that you care who they are. Second best is to address them by their job or interest, eg. ‘Dear Dog Owner’. The worst salutation is ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.

Sign off in a friendly way. Instead of a secretary signing the letter on your behalf, sign it yourself. Include your Christian name and a friendly title. ‘Customer Services Manager’ says that your company cares about its customers.

5. Powerful headlines

At the top of the letter write a headline that communicates the product’s main benefit. It gives the potential customer a reason to read on. Keep it clear and simple – think communication not clever word play.

6. Powerful openings

Grab your reader’s attention. Study magazine articles and newspapers. How do they it? What works? Use your research. Here is a list of letter openers to get you started: http://www.procopytips.com/sales-letter-openers

7. Subheadings

Subheadings make letters digestible. Each subheading should sell the product.

8. Ask for what you want

Don’t beat about the bush. If you want your reader to buy your soaps then tell them so. If you want them to take out a subscription, ask them to sign up (and make it super easy). Ask straight away – don’t leave it until the middle of the letter.

9. Talk benefits

Know the difference between features and benefits. Instead of saying ‘the X65 lawnmower has a barrel of sixty rotating blades’ say ‘the X65 lawnmower develops a healthy lawn within weeks’. Decide which is the most important benefit and put that first. All the other benefits follow.

10. Make it personal

Address the reader as if you were sitting beside them. Make it about them and not you. Every time you write ‘we’ try and change it to ‘you’.

11. Emphasise important points

Emphasise important words by using bold or underline, but don’t overdo it or the power is lost. Indent to emphasise key paragraphs.

12. Make sure the letter flows

Guide the reader gently from one point to another. Sentences should be linked (‘what’s more… ‘, ‘but… ) and ideas should be set out in logical order.

13. Entice the reader to act

Your letter must end with a ‘call to action’. Now you’ve (hopefully!) sold the reader make it easy for them to act. Don’t make it complicated by providing lots of alternatives which involve decisions. Give an incentive too: ‘reply by 20th August and you will receive a free watch’.

14. Provide reassurance

Make sure the reader knows they can’t lose. For instance, say you won’t take payment until the product has been dispatched or that they won’t be charged for 60 days.

15. Use a PS

When you receive a letter do your eyes go straight to the PS? So do your reader’s. There should be a new ‘just remembered’ benefit here to seal the sale.

16. Make it a parcel

You don’t have to send a letter on its own. A creative package is likely to generate a higher response rate. You could include a sample of your product or a promotional item which will be a constant reminder of your company eg. a drink coaster or a pen.

17. Include a reply device

Pre-paid postcards with tick boxes make life easy for potential customers. If you can print their name and address for them, all the better. Reassure people that a salesman will not call and that they are under no obligation to buy.

18. Include an endorsement

Comments from satisfied customers go a long way as do market research statistics: ‘85% of our customers have used us for over 2 years’. Always be truthful. Never be tempted to lie – to do so cheats your customers and undermines your reputation.

19. Involve the reader

Ask rhetorical questions: ‘What would you do if… ? Write questions that potential customers might ask and answer them: ‘How much will it cost?’ Provide an example of a company or individual who reaped the benefits of your product: ‘When James & Son bought our product they halved their production costs in a week’.

20. Overcome objections

Make a list of all the possible reasons your customer might have not to buy. Decide how you would answer these objections and put them in your letter. For example: ‘I can’t afford it now’ could be solved with an easy payment plan. If you think people will want to compare deals with other providers then provide a comparison chart.

An Inclusive Guide to Write Human Resource Cover Letters

Writing an impressive and well integrated human resource cover letter needs in depth analysis of all the relevant requirements of the position and a strong decisive mind to fulfill those duties. It needs a highly dynamic and extrovert personality who will actively look into the different matters and work towards the accomplishment of the given objectives effectively.

Thus, while writing human resource cover letters you need to take into consideration various key requirements of the offer so that you can focus on the relevant skills and professional experience in dealing with such issues. Here are some of the guidelines which can help you to improve quality of your cover letter. You can go through them to get an exact idea about what your letter should contain and how to project your profile in a better way.

  • Carry out research of the given position to know more about the duties associated with it. Such a careful analysis helps us in identifying the key result areas of human resource position. List the skills and qualifications which would help you in giving the best result oriented performance. Link your profile with the employer’s expectation by establishing a close connection in between and marketing your personnel management skills and practice.
  • Project your sound decision making abilities and excellence at carrying out recruitment and selection functions. It helps to put forth your abilities to judge properly and thereby, selecting the best candidates according to the organizational requirement. Highlight your prior experience in dealing with human resource functions and good administration skills.
  • Rationalize your interest in the given offer and capabilities to handle the given set of responsibilities. Your letter should follow a proper well integrated format and should give information about the source of the opening and reference if any. It helps the recruiter to correlate your profile with the specific offer.
  • Deal adequately with your management and decision making skills. Professional experience section should state your past performance in relation to handling organizational work force and development functions.
  • Highlight your training and performance evaluation skills required for appraisal system. It should put forth your abilities to judge and provide efficient recruitment, selection, and compensation management functions.
  • Listing such proficient operations should lead towards convincing the employer about your capabilities, sincere efforts and practices. It would certainly help to improve your job prospects consequently.

Thus, human resource cover letter should project your excellence at organizational and administration functions needed to implement organizational policies effectively. Hence, you can utilize your sound knowledge of human resource processes and expertise in dealing with key human resources issues. Thus, the ultimate aim of such letter is to strengthen your profile by offering adequate details which would serve as a basis to the recruiter and help him to rationally judge your suitability for the position.

Nuts and Bolts of Effective Cover Letters

As a job seeker, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of a cover letter. When written strategically it increases your chances for consideration and provides an opportunity to highlight your individuality.

A cover letter is much more than stating, “I read the job announcement on ABC Job Board, please accept this letter as an application of interest”. It’s a statement that tells the reader what they can expect from you if hired while also providing reasons you are interested in working for their organization specifically.

The challenging part is determining what information to include. After all, all the juicy information is outlined on the resume. What could you possibly add to the cover letter that will add substance to your qualifications?

Keep in mind that the resume and the letter have different purposes. A resume demonstrates that you can do the job, it highlights your past accomplishments, while a cover letter points out the extent to which you match the job requirements for a specific a company and how you will fit in.

A well-written letter gives you an advantage over your competition because it provides another opportunity to showcase your experience and qualifications.

Cover letter basics can be mastered by following the pointers below.

Sell! Sell! Sell!

A cover letter is more than just a business letter; it is a sales letter. Begin with a strong introduction, layout the benefits you offer and establish credibility by showcasing your accomplishments.

Write as you speak.

Use a professional conversational tone, but sound as though a real person wrote it. Many people fall into the trap of using big words to communicate and the writing comes off as stilted. Instead, write in a straightforward manner that entices the reader to review the resume. The words you choose should demonstrate enthusiasm for the position, company, and industry.

Write from the reader’s perspective.

Action words should not be reserved for the resume. Begin as many sentences with a power word. Don’t use a passive voice. Since it’s a cover letter, it’ll be impossible avoid using “I” as a sentence starter once in a while, but be mindful of your usage and limit it to just a few. If you have four sentences in a row starting with the letter “I”, mix it.

Don’t rehash your resume.

Be creative when presenting your qualifications and accomplishments. You don’t want to bore the reader by simply repeating the information you included in your resume. Find different ways to communicate the same message. The best way to do this is by selecting three to five major selling points and highlighting them in the body of the cover letter. Doing so will entice the reader to do more than just glance at your resume.

You should use every tool at your disposal to secure an interview. Targeted cover letters add to your portfolio of qualifications and deserve as much consideration as a resume.

Alphabet Soup: Letters After Names

When you are handed a business card of a professional with letters after their name, what thought comes to mind? That of the infamous billionaire Thurston Howell III, the famous character from TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island, who was tactless, blameful, pretentious, and lazy? Or, the customer-serving, career-mind, educated professional who wants to do the job right the first time to earn your praise and your smile? Letters after names mean things. They should be a prerequisite when choosing your next professional.

The Difference is in the Details

Letters after names are officially called “post-nominal letters.” They can be earned for a number of accomplishments. Letters can be earned for academic education, accreditation, certification, designation, and / or recognition. Though the result is the same – the professional can place some letters after their name – the prestigiousness of the accomplishments are not the same. There are clear levels of accomplishments which are greater than others. Said plainly, some letters mean a lot more than others.

Academic Education – Though a student should be very proud when they earn their Certificate degree, Associate degree, or Bachelor degree, these degrees do not earn the student post-nominal letters. Earning a graduate degree, either a Master or Doctorate, is considered the highest and most prestigious level of professional accomplishment; so, not only does it come with letters, they are the most prestigious of all letters. As a rule, if someone has a Master and Doctorate in the same discipline, they only display the highest level achieved. Thus, when Mr. Makyo Feelgood earns his Bachelor degree in finance, he remains “Mr. Makyo Feelgood”. When he goes on to earn his Master of Business Administration (MBA), he becomes “Mr. Makyo Feelgood, MBA”. And, when he reaches the pinnacle of academia by earning his Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA), he not only replaces his post-nominal letters (replaces MBA with DBA); but, we refer to him as “Doctor”. Thus, “Dr. Makyo Feelgood, DBA”. Interestingly enough, when the academic disciplines are different, both are listed. Therefore, if instead of earning a DBA he earned a PhD in economics, he would have become “Dr. Makyo Feelgood, PhD, MBA”.

Accreditation and Certification – Generally speaking, these mean the same thing. Usually, a training or education program is ‘accredited’ by an outside government or accrediting agency and then those who complete the program are ‘certified’. Though not as prestigious as academic education, certified programs require the professional to have a number of years of experience in the profession, pass a comprehensive test, and complete continuous education to maintain their certification.

Designation – Though training is part of earning a designation, and sometimes, so is even passing a comprehensive test, a test is not required of designation programs nor is continuous education or experience. Therefore, it is an accomplishment worthy of letters; but, at a lower level than accreditation or certification.

Recognition – Still worthy of post-nominal letters, recognition is the least prestigious of the four categories. It may be earned through training or simply through reaching a professional career milestone that is often not reach by others in the same profession. Testing, experience, and continuous education, then, are not involved.

Order Means Everything

When a professional has earned more than one set of post-nominal letters, it is appropriate to display each set of letters after their name. This is done in descending order with the most prestigious letters being first (closest to the name) followed by a comma then the next set of letters and so on. Thus, when Snoopy earns his Doctorate degree in engineering, he becomes “Joe Cool, PhD”. When he passes his first set of exams on the way to becoming a Professional Engineer (PE), he is known as an Engineer in Training (EIT) and becomes “Joe Cool, PhD, EIT”. Finally, when Snoopy goes back to school to sharpen his design prowess and eventually earns his Master of Architecture (M Arch), he becomes “Joe Cool, PhD, M Arch, EIT”. It is important to note that post nominal letters DO NOT appear in the order in which they were chronologically earned; but, in the order of the importance of the accomplishment.

Once earned, a professional has every right to use all of the letters for each accomplishment earned as long as they maintain their license, continuous education, or other requirements of the accomplishment. That said, in common practice, it is rare to display more than three sets of letters at once. Usually, the professional drops the least prestigious accomplishment(s) to display three or less. In certain instances, it is appropriate to show all of the accomplishments (more than three) of the professional in the form of post-nominal letters; such as: when receiving an award, when instructing or teaching on relevant subject matter, or other special circumstances (for example: when writing an article on Letters After Names as found herein by the author). However, even if not used after the professional’s name, the accomplishments should always be shown on a résumé.

The Effect on You

The scammers and want to-be’s can bring down the reputation of any industry. The true professional who believes their career honorable, takes pride in their knowledge of the latest best-practices, and maintains a high-level of continuous education as represented by post-nominal letters.

Don’t become a victim. Choose a designer, contractor, real estate agent, banker, accountant, and lawyer, or any other professional who take their careers seriously by staying at the top of their professional field. A professional may cost a little more to hire up front or may ask you to wait a little longer before they can start on your project; but, in the end, will serve you better.

Letters after names mean things. Look for them. Learn about them. Only hire those who have earned them.

What Are the Principles of Replies to Complaint Letters?

A customer who complains about the goods, or files a complaint is a friend in need. The supplies or the seller has to prove by his action that he is a friend indeed. It is on occasions like these that the customer’s confidence in the seller is tested. Much depends upon the treatment the customer gets when he makes a claim.

The main purpose of the replies to complaints letters is to settle the claim and to restore the faith, goodwill and business of a disgruntled customer. The seller must, therefore, settle the claim cheerfully and gracefully and not grumble or grudge doing so. It is advisable to follow below principles when replying to complaints letters:

1) Promptness

The customer who makes a claim is already dissatisfied customer. Any delay on the part of the supplier in acknowledging or answering his complaint would only add to his dissatisfaction. It is, therefore, imperative that the supplier answers the claim promptly. Promptness shows that the supplier cares for his customer. Promptness helps the supplier also because it leaves no line for the customer to go to another seller.

2) Courtesy

Courtesy assumes special importance in adjustment letters. If the adjuster has the right attitude he will not frown upon complaints but welcome them. There are many who fail to appreciate the significance of complaints as eye-openers. They doubt the very genuineness of the complaint and in their reply they attribute certain motives to the customer. The supplier should take special care to avoid certain expressions in his letters. For example, he should never write:

“We are surprised at your complaint as no other customer has ever found fault with our products.”

Such remarks will annoy the customer. Instead of such unsavory remarks the supplier should write:

“Thank you for telling us your experience with our washing machine.”

In summary, a letter of adjustment, even if it cannot grant the complaint, must be sound, polite and agreeable.

3) Consideration and helpful attitude

A polite reply is good as far as it goes, but what the customer needs is an adjustment. The supplier should, therefore, be considerate. He should make some adjustment, and if the adjustment is minor he should not hesitate to grant it at once. The supplier has to make an adjustment that gives maximum satisfaction to the customer at minimum loss to himself.

4) Tact

An adjuster must reply to the complaint letter tactfully. Otherwise, the matters might take a more serious turn. If he thinks he is not responsible for the cause of the complaint, he should give a brief explanation to say so but never resort to harsh words. He should never try to excuse himself by blaming any of his staff for the mistake. He should never be argumentative. Throughout the letter he should make an attempt to preserve the goodwill of the customer. The adjuster should listen to what the customer has to say and make him feel that he understands the customer’s problem or difficulty. He should then give the customer reason why things are as they are.

5) Pleasing tone

All adjustments should be made cheerfully and not grudgingly. It is better to accept the complaint gracefully and admit the error frankly. The pleasing tone of an adjustment letter makes a good impression on the customer and helps to re-build his goodwill and confidence.

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Free Up Finances – Fold Your Letters

Saving time and money without sacrificing quality is a factor that many businesses aim to achieve. But cutting costs doesn’t necessarily mean quality standards have to decrease as well, in fact the opposite is true. Indeed, cost cutting and quality control are considerations relevant to all departments, from production and operations to business administration.

When it comes to the administration side of things, one of the most practical ways to save money is by assessing how your mail is packaged and posted.

As such, if you already use a franking machine then it is good to know that there are further ways in which you can cut the cost of your postage, whilst improving customer communication at the same time. Cost cutting doesn’t mean you should stop using mail altogether – this is actually one of the best means of communicating with customers and is crucial in achieving repeat business. What’s more, it is also an extremely effective means of attracting and sustaining a new customer base.

You may or may not be familiar with the different sizes of envelopes that you can post your letters in. But the smallest size used for business post is usually DL; C5 is the next size up, whilst the larger C4 holds an unfolded A4 sheet.

It is important to understand that Royal Mail charge postage depending on the weight of items, as well as the size of the envelope used; smaller envelopes benefit from lower postage costs. An easy cost cutting tip is to simply fold your letters, enabling them to fit into smaller envelopes and thus reducing overall costs. Folding down from large letter format mail can result in Royal Mail charging 15p less per item of postage – if you consider the quantity of mail you may send, this may mean large savings.

Of course, this is all very well if you don’t send large volumes of letters and have enough time to fold what you do send, but any more than a few letters every day and you could find the task time consuming and tedious. For this very reason you can use products such as folder inserters to improve the efficiency of your mail preparation.

Common documents such as bills, invoices or statements can be easily handled. In addition, you can use advanced options for customised communications which in turn boosts customer loyalty and improves overall communication.

There are several different models of folding inserting systems that you can choose from depending on your requirements. There are models compact enough to fit in a home or small office, and machines large enough to cope with large mailings every day. Smaller machines can generally cope with around 4,000 pieces of mail per month, whilst larger machines are capable of handling much larger quantities.

When you have diverse products such as folder inserters [http://www.pitneybowes.co.uk/Mail-Management/Outgoing-Mail-Management/Inserting-Systems/inserting-systems.htm] available for your business needs, there really is no reason for communication not to be improved, whilst freeing up your finances at the same time.

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