Saturday, November 12, 2011

Types of Business Letters

Types of Business letters

Describe different types of business letters.
Depending of nature of the message and on the basis of specific business purposes, letters can be of different types.

Types of letters can be summarized as follows:
Business Letters

      A.     On the basis of nature and tone of the message
      B.     On the basis of purposes
      1.      Positive letter
      2.      Persuasive letter
      3.      Routine letter
      4.      Negative letter
     1.       Order letter
     2.       Circular letter
     3.       Inquiry letter
     4.       Complaints letter
     5.       Adjustment letter
     6.       Collection letter
     7.       Letter of recommendation
     8.       Letters regarding company matters.
 Fig -1: Types of Business Letter

A. On the basis of nature and tone of the message:
All messages are not of same nature, thus in business letter sometimes we are to accept something, sometimes we have to reject something or we can request for an action. Therefore, it is clear that the tone and planning of different types of letter should be different.

On the basis of nature of the message business letters can be of four (4) types:
1. Positive letter
2. Persuasive letter
3. Routine letter
4. Negative latter

1. Positive letter:
The purpose of positive letters are to convey good news, creation of goodwill, to congratulate someone, recommendation, adjustment etc.

Direct plan is followed to write positives letters.

Structure: Prof. Ricks and Gow suggested a “positive sandwich formula” for writing positive letters,
which has three parts----

i. State the positive message
ii. Provide details
iii. Close on a friendly note.
The structure of a positive letters can be depicted as follows:
Fig 2: The Positive Sandwich
[Source: Ricks and Gow, P. 85]
2. Persuasive letter:
Business letters may be written to convince someone to do something or to accept an idea. This type of letters is known as persuasive letter.

Purposes: - To replace a defective product
- To ask for special favors
- To convince about a new product etc.

Structure: Like positive letter persuasive letter have also three parts:
i. Get the reader’s interest
ii. Explain the benefits
iii. Ask for actions.
Fig-3: The Persuasive Sandwich
[Source: Ricks and Gow, 1987, P. 97]
3. Routine letters:
Letters written for regular business activates can be termed as routine letters.
- Placing orders
- Responding orders
- Requesting information
- Provide information etc.

Structure: It follows the direct plan of writing which has three steps:
i. Convey the message
ii. Provide details
iii. Express goodwill

Fig-4: The Direct plan Sandwich/Routine letter Sandwich
[Source: Ricks and Gow, 1987, P, 109]
4. Negative Letters:
When bad news is transmitted or a request is rejected then an indirect plan of writing is followed which is known as negative letter.

- Convey bad news
- Deny or reject request etc.

Structure: Negative letters follow different structure which has four (4) parts:
i. Use of a buffer
ii. Provide explanation
iii. Offer alternatives
iv. Use a positive closing
Fig-5: The indirect plan Sandwich/Negative letter Sandwich
[Source: Ricks and Gow, 1987, P. 119]
B. On the basis of purposes:
1. Order letters:
In order letters a written request is made for supply of goods.

2. Circular letter:
To introduce new product in the market, change of office address, or to inform any important message circular letter can be issued.

3. Inquiry letter:
To be confirming about the availability of a product, to know about credit facilities or to check references of the job applicant inquiry letters can be written.

4. Complaints letter:
To inform about defective products, shortage of goods, and goods of poor quality or to inform any mistakes in the invoice, complaints letters can be written to the concerned parties.

5. Collection letter:
When a reminder sent to a debtor by letter requesting for payment of dues then it is known as collection letter.

6. Adjustments letters:
This type of letter is issued in reply to a complaint letter. Once a complaint letter is received, it must be analyzed and properly answered by the respective trader.

7. Letter of recommendation:
This type of letter is used to request someone to provide assistance to another person (who is known to the writer of the letter.)

8. Letters regarding company matters:
Correspondence with the shareholders of the company will come under this heading. Allotment letter, letter of regret, reminder for call money etc. are examples of letters relating to company maters.
Besides these types of letters, there are some other types to letters.

Related Post link:

They are:
- Confirmation of orders
- Refusal of orders
- Cancellation of orders, etc.

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