Chapter 06 - Writing Bad-News Messages
Sample Solutions to Problem-Solving Cases
Indirect Claims, Case #16
The main trap to avoid here is using language that is too dramatic and indignant. You need to express
your displeasure, but in a way that focuses on the facts instead of your feelings. Also, you need to
convey that this was not just an unpleasant experience for you as an individual customer, but for the
entire office staff.
Adjustment Refusals, Case #20
Like most messages that refuse to make a requested adjustment, this one needs both to say “no” and to
somehow re-sell the reader on the value of the company’s products or services. More specifically, the
purpose of the message is to courteously but clearly refuse Ms. Hay’s request for a refund while also
maintaining her goodwill.
Students should anticipate that the reader’s reaction will be, at the very least, disappointment and
perhaps even anger. They should thus use the indirect approach by beginning the message with a
buffer, fully explaining and justifying the reasons for the decision, presenting the bad news as
positively as possible, offering an alternative solution, and ending on a positive note.