Business Communication Skills

04 Jul


A Reply Sent to an Erring Customer

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 23rd, with a cheque for Rs. 25,000/- on account, is to hand. We note what you say as to the difficulty you experience in collecting your outstanding accounts, but we are compelled to remark that we do not think you are treating us with the consideration we have a right to expect.

It is true that small remittances have been forwarded from time to time, but the debit balance against you has been steadily increasing during the past twelve months until it now stands at the considerable total of Rs. 85,000/-

Having regard to the many years during which you have been a customer of this house and the, generally speaking, satisfactory character of your account, we are reluctant to resort to harsh measures.

We must, however, insist that the existing balance should be cleared off by regular installments of say Rs. 10,000/- per month, the first installment to reach us by the 7th.  In the meantime you shall pay cash for all further goods; we are allowing you an extra 3% discount in lieu of credit. We shall be glad to hear from you about this arrangement, as otherwise we shall have no alternative but definitely to close your account and place the matter in other hands.

Yours truly,


1. Comment on the appropriateness of the sender’s tone to a customer.

2. Point out the old – fashioned phrases and expressions.

3. Rewrite the reply according to the principles of effective writing in business.



Advertising Radio FM Brand

A young, gorgeous woman is standing in front of her apartment window dancing to the 1970s tune, “All Right Now” by the one – hit band free.  Across the street a young man looks out of his apartment window and notices her.  He moves closer to the window, taking interest.  She cranks up the volume and continues dancing, looking out the window at the fellow, who smiles hopefully and waves meekly.  He holds up a bottle of wine and waves it, apparently inviting her over for a drink.  The lady waves back.  He kisses the bottle and excitedly says, “Yesss.”  Then, he gazes around his apartment and realizes that it is a mess. “No!” he exclaims in a worried tone of voice.

Frantically, he does his best to quickly clean up the place, stuffing papers under the sofa and putting old food back in the refrigerator, He slips on a black shirt, slicks  back his hair, sniffs his armpit, and lets out an excited , “Yeahhh!” in eager anticipation of entertaining the young lady.  He goes back to the window and sees the woman still dancing away.  He points to his watch, as if to say “Come on.  It is getting late.”   As she just continues dancing, he looks confused.  Then a look of sudden insight appears on his face, “Five,” he says to himself.  He turns on his radio, and it too is playing “All Right Now.”  The man goes to his window and starts dancing as he watches his lady friend continue stepping.  “Five, yeah,” he says as he makes the “okay” sign with his thumb and forefinger.  He waves again.  Everyone in the apartment building is dancing by their window to “All Right Now.”  A super appears on the screen: “Are you on the right wavelength?”


1. What is non – verbal communication? Why do you suppose that this commercial relies primarily on non-verbal communication between a young man and a gorgeous woman? What types of non – verbal communication are being used in this case?

2. Would any of the non-verbal communications in this spot (ad) not work well in another culture?

3. What role does music play in this spot? Who is the target market?

4. Is the music at all distracting from the message?

5. How else are radio stations advertised on TV?




Mr. R P Sinha is a MBA.  He is being interviewed for the position of Management Trainee at a reputed company.  The selection committee’s is chaired by a lady Vice – President.  Mr. Sinha’s interview was as follows:

Committee: Good morning!

Mr. Sinha: Good morning to Sirs and Madam!

Chairperson: Please, sit down.

Mr. Sinha: Thank you (sits down at the edge of the chair, keeps his portfolio on the table)

  1. Chairperson: You are Mr. R. P. Sinha

A Sinha: Yes, Madam.  This is how I am called.

  1. Chairperson: You have passed MBA with 1st Division.
  2. Sinha: Yes, Madam.
  3. Chairperson: Why do you want to work in our organization ?

A Sinha: It is just like that.  Also, because it has good reputation.

  1. Member A: This job is considered to be quite stressful. Do you think you can manage the stress involved.
  2. Sinha: I think there is too much talk about stress these days. Sir, would you tell clearly what you mean by stress? I am very strong for any stress.
  3. Member B: What are your strengths?
  4. Sinha: Sir, who am I talk boastfully about my strengths. You should tell me my strengths.
  5. Member C: What are your weaknesses?
  6. Sinha: I become angry very fast.
  7. Member A Do you want to ask us any questions ?

A Sinha: Yes Sir !  What are the future chances for one who starts as a management trainee ?

The member tells M. Sinha the typical career path for those starting as Management Trainee.  The Chairperson thanks Mr. Sinha.  Mr. Sinha promptly says in reply, “you are welcome,” and comes out.


1. Do you find Mr. Sinha’s responses to various questions effective? Give reasons for your view on each answer given by Mr. Sinha.

2. Rewrite the responses that you consider most effective to the above questions in a job interview.

3. Mr. Sinha has observed the norm of respectful behaviour and polite conversation.  But, do you think there is something gone wrong in his case?  Account for your general impression of Mr. Sinha’s performance at the interview.



Outsourcing Backlash Gets Abusive, Ugly

I don’t want to speak to you. Connect to your boss in the US,” hissed the American on the phone. The young girl at a Bangalore call centre tried to be as polite as she could.

At another call centre, another day, another yound girl had a Londoner unleashing himself on her, “ Yound lady do you know that because of you Indians we are losing jobs.”

The outsourcing backlash is getting ugly. Handling irate callers is the new brief for the young men and women taking calls at these outsourced job centers. Supervisors tell them to be “cool”.

Avinash Vashistha, managing partner of NEOIT, a leading US-based consultancy firm says,” Companies involved in outsourcing both in the US and India are already getting a lot of hate mail against outsourcing and it is hardly surprising that some people should behave like this on the telephone.” Vashistha says Indian call centers should train their operators how to handle such calls.

Indeed, the furore raised by the western media over job losses because of outsourcing has made ordinary citizens there sensitive to the fact that their call are being taken not from their midst but in countries, such as India and the Philippines.

The angry outbursts the operators face border on the racist and sexist, says the manager of a call center in Hyderabad. But operators and senior executives of call centers reguse to go on record for fear of kicking up a controversy that might result in their companies’ losing clients overseas.

“It’s happening often enough and so let’s face it,” says a senior executive of a Gurgaon call centre, adding, “This doesn’t have any impact on business.”


1. Assume you are working as an operator at a call centre in India and are receiving irate calls from Americans and Lodoners. How would you handle such calls? Conceive a short conversation between you and your client, and put it on paper.

2. “Keep your cool.” What does this mean in term of conversation control?

3. Do you agree with the view that such abusive happenings on the telephone do not have any impact on business? Justify.

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