WI Chapter 7 Negative Message Email Rubric
The assignment is at the bottom. Beginning with the second small mistake, each small issue is worth .5 points. Major issues (noted on the rubric) are a full point deduction.
Writing Techniques– worth three points
There is no requirement to cultivate “You” view or stress audience benefits.
Be conversational but professional. *Ask yourself, “Would I phrase it in this way if I were speaking to someone face to face?”
Avoid unnecessary negative words.
Use plain but precise language.
Develop parallelism in writing as well as in bulleted/numbered points.
Keep paragraphs short, and use a variety of sentences.
De-emphasize negative information. There is not requirement to us an emphasis technique.
Be concise. Avoid flabby expressions, long lead-ins, filler words, and redundancy. *Not everything in the writing prompt is useful information for the reader of your email.
Be clear. Avoid trite business phrases, slang, buzzwords, and clichés. Don’t bury verbs.
Grammar/Mechanics – worth three points (grammar/mechanics rules in Appendix D are referenced)
Avoid: fragments and run-on sentences. * These are major issue (-1 point for each occurrence).
Check noun-verb agreement and pronoun case.
Avoid comma mistakes:
Use a comma before the conjunction for items in a series to ensure separation of the last two elements (2.01).
Use a comma(s) to set off the second and succeeding elements of dates, address, and geographical items (2.04).
Use a comma before and, or, nor, or but if the conjunction joins independent clauses/complete thoughts (2.05).
Use a comma after an introductory dependent clause (2.06a).
Use a comma after an introductory phrase if it has four or more words OR if it contains a verb form (2.07a).
Do not use commas needlessly(2.15)
Do not use a comma to join two independent clauses (comma splice).
Apply capitalization rules correctly:
Within a sentence do not capitalize titles common titles that follow names or appear alone (3.06 c and d).
Capitalize the names of departments within your own organization (3.09).
Apply dates rules properly – December 1 NOT December 1st (4.03).
Avoid spelling errors and typos
Email Formatting – worth 2 points – See page 118 and Figure 7.7 for example of full signature block to outsiders
Use left alignment with ragged right margins.
Use single-spacing within paragraphs and signature block. Leave one blank line between paragraphs. *If it doesn’t appear to be single spacing, highlight the section, right click, choose paragraph, make sure it’s set to single spacing, and check the box that says to not add extra space to paragraphs of the same style.
The only guide word I will be assessing is Subject. Make sure to capitalize all major words in the subject line.
Do NOT use end punctuation with the subject line.
Do NOT refer to the negative situation, the bad news, or anything negative in the subject line
Do NOT use a complete thought for the subject line.
Use proper salutation, complimentary close, and FULL signature block (no letterhead so include full contact information)
Use a 12 – point font size for easier grading even though a 10-point or 11-point are acceptable.
Important – This assignment should not exceed one page. Business writing should be concise and audience oriented.
Organization for Indirect Request – worth 2 points – See Figure 7.3 and 7.4 and review pages 190 – the top of 197. Figure 7.7 is a great one to review as well.
Start with an appropriate buffer. (Not doing so is a major issue.)
Follow the buffer with a well-developed reason(s).
Convey bad news tactfully in ONE of the following ways:
Use passive voice AND place the bad news between neutral or positive sentences. In other words, do NOT begin or end a paragraph with bad news.
Imply the bad news with well-developed reason(s).
Mention the bad news ONLY ONCE in the document.
Close with a personalized, forward-looking statement.
Do not bring up the situation or bad news in the closing by apologizing.
Important – The writing plan in Figures 7.3 and 7.4 does NOT mean you should have three paragraphs. Some students will be able to write this very concisely in less than three paragraphs; others students, in more than three paragraphs. Consider the opening, body, and closing more of an indication of the order of information.
Other possible overall point deductions
Check for comprehension. Read the prompt several times as you write your paper. Ask questions if you aren’t sure about the content. Read the prompt one more time before you submit your assignment to make sure you have all the details correct.
Use your own words.
WI Chapter 7 Negative Message Email Assignment
BuyCostumes, the world’s largest online costume and accessories retailer, is proud of its extensive stock of costumes, its liberal return policy, and its many satisfied customers. However, one day an e-mail arrived with a request that went beyond the company’s ability to deliver.
Mary Jones said that she had ordered the Grand Heritage Wonder Woman Costume. This costume comes with an adjustable bustier, skirt with boy shorts, hooded cape, tiara, armband, gauntlets, glovelets, leg guards, lasso, sword, and shield.
Link (Links to an external site.)
Ms. Jones complained that the costume did not arrive until the day after her super-hero themed Halloween party (October 31, 2018). She had planned an elaborate party with a super hero theme and was extremely unhappy that she did not have her costume. She wants BuyCostumes to reimburse $123.46 that she spent on theme-related decorations and party supplies from BuyCostumes which she says were useless when she failed to receive her costume in time for the Halloween party.
As a customer service representative, you checked the order and found that it was received Saturday, October 27, during the busiest time of the year for your company. It’s so busy that your staff grows from 60 core employees to over 300 during this season. Her order was filled quickly – the very next day, but Mary chose economy shipping which requires five to nine business days for delivery. She did not order expedited, 2 day, or next day shipping. You want to retain the customer’s goodwill, but obviously, BuyCostumes is not going to shell out $123.46 because the costume arrived after her party – no company policy would allow for such a thing; However, the company can allow her to return the unopened theme-related decorations and party supplies for a full refund. You are also able to provide any disgruntled customer with a digital coupon for $20 off their next costume purchase; doing so would likely smooth things over.
*You cannot reimburse the customer for party supplies (look up reimburse vs return).
Write an e-mail that retains the goodwill of this customer. The only guide word I will assess is the very-important subject line. Chapter five gives guidelines for typical e-mail subject lines, but in this case consider that no negative information belongs in the subject line. Additionally, the subject line should not give false hope that her request has been granted. Some students choose to create an original subject line. Others choose to “reply” to the subject line the customer used (assuming the customer used an appropriate, non-negative subject line).

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