Buying abroad involves a lot of communication between sellers and buyers. Every
item has to be named, counted and priced. How does that communication look like
in real life? Telephone conversations, letters, email messages.
In this group assignment you will:
- describe the buyer, seller and
- write a letter and an email
message, and make a phone call
You may do this assignment with two other
students. Anything you write down and record should be in English. Discussions
about the assignment itself can be held in Dutch.
Step 1. Describing the
buyer, seller and product
The first step consists of describing the company that wants to buy something
from another company abroad.
- Make a description of the buyer (i.e. type of company, department,
person responsible for selling).
- Make a description of the seller (i.e. type of company, department,
person responsible for buying).
- Write down as much information about the product as you can (i.e.
type of product, size, weight, colour, price, amount, etc.).
Step 2. Writing messages
and making a phone call
The second step consists of all personal communication between buyer and
seller, following your description in Step 1.
- Write a letter from the buyer to the seller. Order a number of
goods or services. Make sure you include all the necessary information
with respect to terms and conditions.
- Write an email from the seller to the buyer confirming the order.
Make sure you include all the necessary information.
- Prepare a phone call. The buyer has a complaint about the goods he
or she has ordered. One of you should take the role of the buyer;
the other should take the role of the seller. The third student should
write a short report about the phone call. He or she should focus on the
quality of the English and the way the other two students conducted the
- When you have practised the phone call once, switch roles. Every
group member should play each role at least once.
In this assignment you are going to order chairs from a Dutch
wholesaler. You are also going to deal with a complaint.
In this assignment you will:
- conduct a few
- order goods
by phone and fax
- write an
- write letters
- write an
answer to letters of complaint
Read the whole assignment. Try to find out how much time preparing each
step will take.
All the letters and faxes should be written in English. All telephone
conversations should be conducted in English.
Jonathan Kneale owns a shop
selling designer furniture in Warwick (18 Smith Road, Warwick CV34 4JA). The
second person is Kashan Ashad,
who works for RJM Furniture in Londen (203 Kentish
Town Road, London NW5 2JU). The third person is Karin Stuurman,
who works for MIF, an importer and distributor of Italian designer furniture in
Maarssen in the Netherlands (Industrieweg
4, 3500 BM Maarssen, Tel. 0346 34 56 78, 0346 34 56
The assignment consists of four steps:
- Ordering goods
- Both Jonathan Kneale and Kashan Ashad want to order
a number of Bombo Magis
Chairs and Bombo Magis
Tables from MIF. Jonathan Kneale orders his
chairs and tables by phone. Kashan Ashad sends a fax. The chairs cost Ű 245 and the
- Prepare the
telephone conversation. Find
somebody to practice this telephone conversation with. There are two
roles: Jonathan Kneale and Karin Stuurman. Prepare notes for the telephone
conversation on paper first. Jonathan should order 30 Bombo
Magis Chairs (12 green ones, 8 blue ones and 10
white ones) and 12 tables (all in white). He needs the chairs and tables
very soon and asks for speedy delivery. Jonathan asks a number of
questions and Karin gives all the necessary details.
- Write Kashan AshadŐs
fax to MIF in Maarssen. Kashan
orders 8 blue Bombo Magis
Chairs and 4 green ones. He also orders 6 tables. He needs the furniture
by the end of this week (explain why you need them so fast).
- The chairs and tables have not arrived in time. Jonathan and Kashan phone Karin to complain about the delay. They
are both very frustrated. Karin stays calm.
- Prepare the two telephone conversations. Both Jonathan Kneale and Kashan Ashad ask Karin Stuurman
what has gone wrong. She checks her computer and tells them the orders
are on their way. Make sure you ask the right questions and give the
Dealing with complaints
- After 2 weeks the chairs and tables finally arrive in Warwick and
London by special delivery. But there is a problem. Jonathan sees that
all chairs are green and that he has received 6 tables instead of 12. The
driver of the van knows nothing about the mistake,
asks Jonathan to sign a delivery form and drives away. Kashan is also unpleasantly surprised. He has
received 12 tables and only 8 blue chairs. Karin has not heard from
Jonathan and Kashan yet and writes the
- Write JonathanŐs letter of complaint to MIF. Explain what has gone
wrong. Make clear why you need the right chairs immediately.
- Write KashanŐs letter of complaint to
MIF. Explain what has gone wrong. Make clear why you need the right
chairs and tables immediately.
- Write KarinŐs invoices to Jonathan and RJM Furniture.
- Karin receives the letters. She checks the computer again and
finds the mistake. She writes to Jonathan and Kashan
and makes her apologies.
- Write KarinŐs letter to Jonathan and Kashan.
Apologize for the mistakes, explain what you will do to put things right
and make them a special offer.
For an example of a return policy, go to amazon and look
under Ôreturns policyŐ.
- If you complain about something, make sure you stay polite. Of
course you are angry, but you also want the person you complain to to do something for you.
- If you deal with complaints, think of a proper way to keep your
customers satisfied (and your employer happy).
- Keep your letters short and simple.
In deze groepsopdracht komen de volgende taalcompetenties aan bod:
- overleggen met collegaŐs over
- bij een leverancier melden wat
je nodig hebt en vragen naar prijzen
- een klant informeren over een
tijdstip, prijs, aantal of hoeveelheid
- iets bestellen of een
- een bestelling samenstellen
- een eenvoudige e-mail of
faxbericht opstellen voor een collega of zakencontact
- een eenvoudige zakelijke brief,
fax of e-mail begrijpen