Learning Activity (20 minutes)

In document How to use this resource package (Page 148-151)

Students are asked to fill the gaps with the correct words or phrases from the box. The words represent quality control as well as customer services. Students work in groups and are encouraged to make use of the context and their language knowledge to guess the meanings of any words they are not sure about.


1. failure 2. checks 3. inspectors 4. guaranteed 5. after-sales service 6. satisfaction 7. discount 8. polite 9. tested 10. loyalty

Useful tip

You might like to ask students to create a table like the one below to organise their vocabulary.

You may also like to give students some dictionary practice for this. They need to know the meaning of the words and which word type can go into which gaps (e.g. verb or noun) so this is an interesting grammar activity for them. Stress the significance of word class here as this is a useful skill to have in English for guessing the meaning of words in context.

Noun Verb Adjective Adverb

Catering for Learner Diversity

For less advanced students, you might like to go over some of the key terms that appear in the text with them, e.g. front of house, face-to-face, guest, empathy, distracted and hostile, before they work in groups on the activity.

Catering for Learner Diversity

For less advanced students, you could consider turning the gap fill exercise into a multiple-choice activity.

e.g. 1. Our first model had to be redesigned due to a mechanical . a. success b. failure

Note: You could highlight the contextual clue given by the prefix 're-' of the word 'redesigned' to help students get at the answer.

For more advanced students, you could use the 15 words below and ask students to make their own sentences with the remaining five. They should leave a blank where the word should be and test their partners.

failure polite modify reliability tested checks

Learning English through Workplace Communication

Catering for Learner Diversity

For less advanced students, ask four questions instead (Questions 1, 2, 3 and 5) which focus more on content and provide a simplified set of tips. Here is an example:

'Letters of complaint in the workplace are usually about dissatisfaction. Companies which receive a letter of complaint normally react quickly because they want to 'keep the customer happy'.

The person who reads and answers the letter of complaint is generally not the person responsible for the error. Rather, it is probably someone in the customer service department trained to deal with complaints. Therefore, you should write the letter of complaint in a polite tone.

The content of your letter should be straightforward. It gives relevant information about the problem and the options to resolve the problem that you would find suitable. You should supply all the dates, purchase orders, and other relevant details.'

For format and style, leave it to Learning Activity 2 when students get to read a formal letter.

You can make use of the complaint letter template to reinforce students' understanding in this area.

Section G: Formal letters of complaint

Learning Activity 1 (20 minutes)

The questions could be answered through a reading race. Students are asked to find the answers to the questions by scanning 'Tips for letters of complaint' and 'Complaint letter template' on pages S89-S90 as quickly as they can. You might like to put an A3 text on the wall or just give them a copy per group.


1. Dissatisfaction with the product or service received 2. To keep the customer happy

3. Someone who has been trained in the customer service department to deal with complaints

4. 'Attention: Customer Service Department'

5. All the dates, times, purchase orders and invoices in the letter 6. 'Yours faithfully'

7. By complimenting the company's normal service

8. By saying that we look forward to hearing from the company soon and that we appreciate their help

Learning Activity 2 (20 minutes)

In groups of five or six, students read the letter of complaint and answer the questions. Go over the complaint and response letter templates with students. You may also revise with students the business letter writing basics on page S50 and go over some of the vocabulary / expressions in the letter which can be used for writing a complaint letter, e.g. I am writing to complain about, we found that, we would appreciate it if you could, we would like to.


1. Several of the rearview mirrors of the new two-door environmentally-friendly cars are faulty.

2. It happened on 8 October, 2008.

3. Ms Chan of Quest Company is writing the letter.

4. She wants Mrs Tung to pick up the cars, check every one of it herself and fix those with the problem mentioned. She also wants Mrs Tung to refund all her expenses.

Learning English through Workplace Communication

Learning Activity 3 (60 minutes)

Go over with students the sample customer service response letter at the bottom of page S93 before asking them to write a reply to Ms Chan at Quest Company.

Sample answer: (The underlined parts in the answers are for use in the adapted activity that can be done with the less advanced students. Please see details of the activity at the bottom of this page.)

Cars for All 986 Nathan Road Yau Ma Tei Kowloon

15 October 20XX Dear Ms Chan

Subject: Complaint about rearview mirrors

I am writing in response to your letter dated 10 October, 20XX, regarding the faulty rearview mirrors.

We would like to express our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused.

The rearview mirrors in question are in fact provided by another company and we are only responsible for installing them at our factory. However, we are of course prepared to take the blame for this as we should have checked that they were fine before distributing the cars.

We will be happy to take back the cars for repair. Unfortunately, we have another big order going to Japan at the moment so we will need one month for the repairs.

With regard to the refunds and compensation you request, we regret to tell you that we are unable to offer them. However, we guarantee that all the cars will have been thoroughly checked and all the faulty rearview mirrors repaired before sending them back to you. We would also like to reassure you that all repairs and shipping involved will be free of charge.

We hope you find our response satisfactory and we look forward to maintaining our business relationship with you in the future.

Yours sincerely Nancy Tung

Chief Customer Services Officer Sales Department

Catering for Learner Diversity

For less advanced students, provide the first three paragraphs of the letter and leave blanks where words are underlined in the text above for students to fill out with the help of prompts 1-4 on page S92. Ask students to write the rest of the letter by giving them


Learning English through Workplace Communication

Section H: Telephoning

Learning Activity 1 (10 minutes)

Students are asked to match functions and language for making and handling telephone complaints.


1. A 2. B 3. D 4. C 5. F 6. G 7. E 8. H

You might like to revise with students 'Telephoning - functions and language' on page S10 to make sure that they are ready for the next activity.

Useful tip

It is a good idea to play some memory games here (a quiz, board race, pelmanism) to help students to remember the phrases.

Learning Activity 2 (30 minutes)

Students conduct the conversations. To do this, you might like to divide the class into As and Bs by asking students to choose if they are making or handling the complaint. In their groups of A or B, they prepare what they might say. When they are ready, they pair up and conduct the conversation. You may suggest to students the following procedures to follow:

1. get the person they intend to speak to 2. state their purpose of call

3. give details about what they wish to complain about 4. state the action that they wish to be taken

They can also refer to the handout 'Making and handling complaints on the telephone (complainer / receiver)' on page S97 for help.

Useful tip

It helps to sit students back to back to make this type of activity more authentic.

In document How to use this resource package (Page 148-151)

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