Many international companies, particularly those that you deal with on a regular basis grant reasonable requests, since favorable adjustments help their reputations. However, in cases where the customer has misused the product or is mistaken about company procedures or services, you must write a carefully crafted refusal letter.
A refusal letter calls for delicate balance. Most English to Chinese Translation workers suggest that on one hand, you must clearly explain why you cannot grant the adjustment. On the other hand, these translators suggest that you must say diplomatically that the reader is mistaken. To maintain this balance, workers at The Marketing Analysts Translation encourage their clients to: (1) keep the tone friendly, (2) use the passive voice to avoid accusations (“The wrong bolts were used” instead of “You used the wrong bolts.”), and (3) subordinate negative details so that the reader isn’t offended.
At times we are tempted to write such replies. They’re easier and more fun than a carefully constructed refusal; they’re good for venturing the writer’s frustrations, but they’re awful for goodwill. If ever you lose patience and write such a reply, put it aside for a day or two. When you return, your desire to retain goodwill probably will lead to a major rewrite.
Clients are sometimes mistaken about policy or contract terms. In these situations, explanations are important, since you want to retain goodwill, confidence and business. Because you are giving bad news, use the indirect plan.