Businesses exist to serve. For this reason, there will be a lot of occasions when you will have to interact with customers, clarify client requirements and deliver on customer requirements. While the telephone is often the most convenient means clients use to reach organizations, writing an email to clarify a client’s requirement are more efficient to ensure proper documentation of requirements.
Client’s requirements can vary from minor preferences in colour, delivery or packaging to more detailed modifications. Emails are an excellent medium to document client requirements for review and confirmation. Organizations often charge add-on costs for special requirements and modifications to products or services, therefore, errors in capturing the client’s requirements are potentially costly for your organization and damaging to customer satisfaction and retention.
How you write an email to clarify a client’s requirement will ultimately be guided by your organizational culture, branding, and writing style. Elements such as the email layout, colour scheme, font, and tone should be deliberate to communicate a consistent brand image. Big brands such as Western Union, Heineken, Google – are very good at maintaining a consistent brand image in their communications by using uniform fonts, colours, and email templates.
Tips for Writing Email To Clarify A Client’s Requirement
Keeping your unique organizational culture and brand in mind, here are some tips to help you write emails to clarify clients’ requirements:
Restate the Client Requirement in the Email for Clarification
An email to clarify a client’s requirement must be properly written and maintain email writing best practices. Begin the email with a salutation and introduction that clearly captures the purpose of your email. Summarize the client’s requirements in a few lines in your introduction to show a clear understanding of the client’s needs.
Make your introduction polite and warm. Recount important elements of the client requirement such as the channel used to submit the requirement, time and other descriptive information. To help you write strong email introductions remember that your aim is to “Tell the receiver, what you want to tell them”.
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Provide All Relevant Information in the Email to Clarify the Client’s Requirement
While the introduction provides a summary, the body of your email should be detailed. No one wants to receive information piecemeal, especially when there are cost implications. It is much better to provide enough information than leave important details out.
The body of your email should provide the client with details on:
- Your company policy or process for fulfilling the requirement
- Timeline for delivering on the requirements
- Cost implications of the requirement
- Additional information or details required from the client
The client should have a clear picture of how you will handle the requirement after reading the body of your email. Use clear and simple language in your email and avoid jargon to ensure your email will be easily understood.
Very complex client requirements may require several days of review and consultation before a solution can be offered to the client. In such cases, simply restate the requirements, ask for the client’s confirmation and inform the client that you will revert with feedback.
Ask for Confirmation of the Requirement
If you have successfully captured the client’s requirements and painted a clear picture of the implications of the client’s requirements, ask the client to confirm and accept your terms in the concluding section of your email. Ensure the terms communicated to the client are in line with your company policy. Consult relevant units to confirm all costs and implications before informing the client.
Communication is only effective when the message is understood as intended by the sender of the message, so require the client’s confirmation. Some clients may not fully understand the implications of their requirements or may rethink their preferences when they see it in print. The concluding section of an email to clarify a client’s requirement should ask the client to confirm that the requirement has been properly understood by the organization and that the terms provided for the fulfillment of the requirement are acceptable to the client.
Sample Email To Clarify A Client’s Requirement
Madam Furnishing is a household furniture company. Mrs. Reed has ordered a table from Madam Furnishing from the online catalogue. After placing her order, she calls the customer care line to state some additional requirements. Margaret answers the call. After collecting Mrs. Reed’s order number to confirm the order, she notes down the requirements and informs Mrs. Reed that she will email her to confirm the requirements.
Subject: Additional Requirements – Order No. 200034
Dear Mrs. Reed
Thank you for choosing Madam Furnishing. Further to our telephone discussion on your delivery preference for the Melissa table and modification to the table design, kindly review and confirm the terms below as discussed.
Your order, which was scheduled for shipping today, has been put on hold to ensure your requirements are incorporated and that you receive your desired furniture. Your desire to change the colour of the table and delivery schedule has been documented and your order modified.
Please be informed that:
The Melissa table is commercially available in Black, Brown, and Red. The production of the table in a different colour is considered a custom order and attracts an additional fee of $20
Delivery of the Melissa table on Sunday between 12noon and 3pm is possible but will attract an additional fee of $10 which is our standard weekend/public holiday delivery fee.
Please confirm that your requirements are clearly captured and no requirement has been omitted in this email. Kindly note that your confirmation and payment of the additional $30 into the Madam Furnishing account using your previous invoice number are required to confirm this order for processing.
Please do not hesitate to contact me for any further assistance.
Combine good email writing practice with your organizational culture and writing style to consistently write quality emails to clients. An email to clarify a client’s requirements should simply build on the fundamentals for writing a good email while ensuring that the necessary information required from your organization is provided and the client’s obligations are clearly captured. This will ensure effective communication and continued customer satisfaction and retention.
Deciding the right phrase to handle different situations can be very tasking. As a correspondent, you are directly involved in critical day-to-day interactions via email. This makes your ability to craft good email messages, using the perfect phrases and clauses, tangential to your business success.
There is a book by Meryl Runion that will help you to a great extent:
Perfect Phrases for Office Professionals: Hundreds of ready-to-use phrases for getting respect, recognition, and results in today’s workplace
Overall, this book will greatly improve your communication skills. It will also help you easily clarify assignments with your manager or projects with your clients as well as guide you in handling the inevitable complaints that sometimes follow sales of products or services.