Process involved in Answering Questions
|Upon the completion of this unit, the learner will be able to:
In our day-to-day life we are bombarded with numerous questions like ‘where do you live?’, ‘what would you like to eat today?’, ‘what is your ambition?’, etc. We encounter questions in written and spoken contexts. When you answer any question, it is necessary that you should organise your thoughts and present your answers in an orderly and structured way.
Currently most of the formal communications, including the written correspondence, take place through email. Majority of us get at least a few emails or any other modes of written communication each day, regardless of the type of work we do or the post we hold. In such situations, knowledge of the skills required to reply through written communication professionally is a desirable quality. In this unit, let us work on improving the effective skills needed for answering questions through written communication.
Answering, Email Response, Automated Response, Approving Application
A perfect response to a question is an art that effectively addresses the matter that is raised in front of the respondent. It is more or less a psychological response. In order to influence and satisfy the questioner, his situation should be taken into consideration. Based on the nature of the question and the questioner, the modes of answers may vary. When job-seekers and students answer questions, they need to consider the possible psychological conditions of the examiners and evaluators. If a student writes everything that he knows when addressing a question which has a direct answer, the evaluator may be led to develop a negative impression on his ability to answer questions.
4.2.1 Process of Answering Questions
The following are some of the important processes involved in answering questions which need to be considered when you write an answer.
- Take Thinking Time: Take time be-fore you rush headlong to answer questions. Make a pause which will provide you time for thinking about your reply or answer. This is also a gesture of respect to the question providing it a due consideration.
- Understand the Question: Before you answer questions, make yourself confident that you have understood the question. If you attempt answers without understanding the questions, you might be led to answer the questions in an in-appropriate way.
- Address the Question: Answering questions should not be vague. Impressive answers address the issues that the questions highlight. In order to answer the questions appropriately, you need to brood over the line of thought introduced in the question.
- Structure the Answer: You need to structure your answer in your mind be-fore you write it down in the paper. The structures of the answers differ on the basis of their types, like short answer and essay questions. In the case of an essay, the topic of discussion will be introduced in the introduction paragraph, and the conclusion will be given in the last paragraph. In the paragraphs be-tween the introduction and conclusion,paragraphs are allotted for elaboration, example and comparison.
- Use Simple Language: When you answer questions, the language employed should be simple in order to avoid confusion due to ambiguous sentences.
- Chunk your Answer: Divide your answers into different sections so as to answer the question accurately. This method of answering is suitable if the answer is a lengthy one or if the answer needs to focus on different aspects of an issue.
- Take a Balanced Approach: When you write an answer, you need to adopt a balanced approach in your response to the question. You are not supposed to present unjustifiable arguments, im-mature and vague statements. Instead, stick to the balanced approach taking different viewpoints into consideration.
- Revisit the Answer: When you complete your writing of the answer, you need to revisit the answer in order to ensure that you have satisfactorily answered the question. You need to check whether more points or aspects need to be incorporated into the answer.
4.2.2 Answers Through Email
In today’s scenario, formal written communications are mainly processed through emails. The ease of accessibility and the speed of delivery make them the best choice for both personal and professional communication. Henceforth, this unit mainly focuses on the methods and techniques which make some types of responses and replies made through well-written, informative and professional emails .
A reply email is a written communication that answers another email. This kind of email will be required for daily practices both on personal and professional levels. This could be a mail acknowledging a meeting, approving a job application, responding to a query, or denying an invitation or agreement, etc. As a result, the recipients of the written response might be anybody that one comes into contact with at work, including one’s partner, clients, managers, and co-workers. Such replies to emails or any other forms of written communication must always be written effectively. Along with that, keeping high standards in business communication reflects professionalism. Responses that are poorly organised and unprofessional may even cause a firm to fail. So, how do you respond to written communication, especially email?
188.8.131.52 Types of Acknowledgements for Inquiry Emails
Following the various types of communications, we can classify emails into different categories. The response emails, thus, can be classified into two broad kinds: Auto reply and Personal reply.
Automated Email Reply
Today, you no longer have to email each customer individually to let them know you’ve accepted their mail. You now can send automated responses with the aid of new applications. The recipients can infer from the automated types of response that you cannot possibly respond right away, but you are working on it.
Even though the automated replies are sent automatically to the recipient without human involvement, it has to be felt as a reply sent by a human. Suppose a customer or an applicant sends a mail requesting help, and he or she receives an automated response without much involvement from the recipient, the situation will surely make the sender feel insulted. Therefore, it is essential to consider the mail sender’s feelings before setting an automatic response.
By considering the above-mentioned elements, let us discuss a suitable way to compose content for autoreply emails.
- Give a suitable subject line by adding the most appropriate part of your reply. By reading the subject line itself, the recipient should get an idea of what would be in the body of the mail. Simultaneously, the subject line should also be framed in a way that would urge the recipient to open the mail. We send auto-replies at first to assure our clients the help from our side. An auto-reply informs them that though we are unable to respond to the mail immediately, it indirectly tells them not to get worried and that we will surely work on their needs.
- The opening of the body content is usually a greeting for the reader. What do you think is the most attractive word that influences the reader? It is, of course, the name of the person who reads the mail! However, there are limitations in an automated reply through gmails or any other mailing platforms to add the name of the recipient since the content of the mail would have to be set as a common reply suitable for every recipient of the mail. Hence, greeting salutations like “Dear” can be used.
- Adding a “Thank you” phrase in the mail body is an etiquette of email response whether automated or manual. If one client complains, it is possible that several others are experiencing the same issue without notifying you. This implies that making one customer happy could simultaneously make many other clients happy. So, it would be a timely response if you would include a word of appreciation in the automated reply mail to your client. Some of the samples of appreciation are: “Thanks for getting in touch”, “Thank you for reaching out”, and “Thanks for the email”!
- The body of your automated email should be arranged to inform the clients that their request was received and that you would provide a thorough response to assist them shortly. The content will reassure the client that the recipient of the email has taken his or her email on a priority basis, though it would be resolved only after a few hours. The customer’s expectations regarding how and when to hear back from you are outlined in this section of the email. For instance, in the body part, you can highlight the special business hours for your support.
A sample of an auto-reply email is given below:
|We have got it – Reg- Issuing of the Insurance Card
Thank you so much for getting in touch! This auto-reply is intended to inform you that your email has been received, and a customer support response will be sent to you within a few hours, often between 10 am and 6 pm. We might take a little longer on the weekends and in the evenings. If you have general inquiries regarding our insurance service, you can find demos and answers to frequently asked questions on our website. Please feel free to reply to this email if you have any further information that you believe will be useful in helping us to help you. We look forward to speaking with you soon!
Team Gateway Insurance
We really need to practise writing emails for manually composing responses. Professional email etiquette for organising replies in business situations has to be followed. Remember to include the same components as discussed in the automated email responses while writing Personal Response. They are the subject line, the opener, the body and the ending. However, while composing the personal response, the writer has the liberty to customise the email content separately for each recipient in accordance with the context.
Think of a response to an email of inquiry as the first step to building a potential partner in the future. Hence, a personal response email has great significance in the building of a rapport with clients. Because of this, you must master the art of writing an effective inquiry response. A badly prepared mail response would create a poor impression and cause them to miss the opportunity of building a relationship with the client. You should therefore handle every inquiry carefully and respectfully. The following stanzas detail the way of writing a personal email response.
You can frame the opening part of the response mail in accordance with the need and context. Creating a positive impression for your client through a well-crafted opening line makes the objective of the mail run more efficiently. Then, let them know about the topic you’re discussing in the body. The opening sentence of the content can be written as follows: We appreciate you asking about our product or service.
Next, compose a reasonably effective body for your inquiry reply. Keep in mind that providing the necessary details is a major element in the body part. Also, do not write in a complicated style and never keep a customer waiting to get the answer. Instead, enter into the main point quickly. Include a description of how you send the details needed for the client, such as a link below, an attachment in the letter, or another method. One instance for this is: This email includes an attachment in response to your question. Additionally, you can provide more information if it is appropriate.
In conclusion, leave a positive note in your response to the query. Following the completion of the necessary information, you should write one or two sentences. In this final section, write in a kind and amiable manner. It enables the client to experience your politeness while still remaining at ease. If a call or meeting is required, kindly suggest it in the conclusion part. Let them know that you are there to assist at any time if they need it. You may also include your contact information so that they know how to get in touch with you. An example of a polite conclusion in the response email is as follows: If you would like further information, we would be pleased to set up a call and a meeting to extend our service on this matter.
A sample reply mail to an inquiry of a business product is given below.
|Re: ReRaise Company | Product inquiry: Purified Milk Products
Dear Mr. Roy
We would like to thank you for your interest in our purified milk products. Based on your request, we are delighted to provide you our wholesale pricing list and the brochure for purified milk products. The brochure contains all the details you requested, so please refer to the same . You can find both items attached with this email.
Along with that, we have also sent a catalogue of purified milk products (showcasing the various milk varieties that are supplied) and our logistics rules for this particular product. We think this will be beneficial to you.
Sales Department | ReRaise Company.
4.2.3 Approving or Declining an Application
Similar to the requisites discussed in a personal mail section, the email letter approving an application, for instance a job application, also has to be written in the structure detailed above. Thus, the first email response to inform the applicant about the approval of his or her application has to strictly contain the main objective of the email: informing the applicant about the acceptance of the application. It can also include the appreciation of the applicant and/or the sharing of the happiness on the acceptance of the application. The email can also have a short bio-description of the company or the institution. Convey the recipient the nature and designation of the job or new assignment. Try to build a rapport with the applicant in the email itself and offer all support from the side of the company or the institution. A sample email response of approving an application is given below:
| Sub: English Master | Application to Trainer Post; Acceptance Mail
Hello Ms. Smitha
Welcome! Your application to the English Master programme has been accepted. We are delighted to have you among our new Communicative Faculty.
Your login information is as follows:
We’ll get in touch with you soon with further information on your duties and compensation. The complete English Master team is eager to collaborate with you in a cordial and effective manner. Please feel free to contact us if you need any help or information. Thank you.
Unfortunately, sometimes it is necessary to say “no” to some applicants who ask you to do something or approval of a job or project application. However, some essential etiquettes have to be maintained even at the time of refusal response letter. When you put together a refusal be sure to include:
- An opening compliment. Say something positive to break the ice.
- A definite “no” that leaves no doubt about your position of declining the position.
- A statement that keeps the door open to business or relationship in the future.
- A good-luck wish for success in the venture you are refusing to join.
A sample letter of declining a job application is given below:
|Re: Carry Logistics | Job Application Status
Thanks for the application to the post of Logistics Coordinator. Your working experience and skills meet a high level of excellence. Unfortunately, I have to decline your job application because of the absence of the vacant position. I’m unable to take on any additional processes on your application right now.
I wish you all the very best for your future. Best regards,