When using an overseas mail-order site or online service, you may be contacted in English, such as when you want to inquire that the product you ordered has not arrived, or when you want to ask about the service content.
However, you may be confused because you don't know how to make an inquiry, or you don't know what to say "inquiry" in English in the first place.
In this article, I will explain the expressions and phrases when making inquiries in English.
How to express "inquiry" in English
First, let's see how to express the "inquiry" itself in English.
inquiry/inquiry: Both of them mean "inquiry", but inquiry is generally used in American English and inquiry is used in British English.
Thank you for your inquiry. (Thank you for your inquiry.)
I received an enquiry from a customer.
inquire/enquire: There is also the verb "inquire". Like nouns, inquire is used in American English and require is used in British English.
I inquired about the new product .
By the way, it also means "inquiry" with make inquiry/inquiry.
Let's suppress the inquiry method by e-mail!
Now that you know the English word for "inquiry," let's see how to actually make an inquiry by email.
1. 1. subject
First is the subject of the email. It is necessary to keep the main points in mind so that the contact information can be understood at a glance.
Inquiry about ●●: This is the subject using the aforementioned Inquiry (Enquiry). It means "inquiry about ●●".
Inquiry (Enquiry) about your service.
Request for ●●: Click here for requests to the other party or requests for response. It means "request (request) of ●●".
Request for instruction form.
Question about ●●: Use this phrase if you have a question for the other party. It means "question about ●●".
Question about the delivery date of my order.
2. 2. address
Please write the address before the text. It is important to properly control etiquette without omitting it so that the other party will respond comfortably. In addition, in Japanese business emails, the department name of the other party is also written, but in English it is common to write only the name + honorific title.
One of the most common expressions used for addressing letters and emails is the expression Dear. Add ", (comma)" after the name, and ": (colon)" if you want to make it more formal.
Dear Mr. White, / Dear Mr. White:
If you don't know your personal name, you can use the following expressions.
To whom it may concern / Dear Customer Support
3. 3. Export
After writing the title and address, it is finally the text. First of all, let's simply describe the requirements of what the email is about. The following expressions are common.
If you want to hear something
I am writing to ask (inquire) about ●●. / I e-mailed you to ask (inquire) ●●.
I have a question about ●●. (I have a question about ●●.)
We are interested in ●●. (We are interested in ●●.)
I would like some information about ●●. (I would like some information about ●●.)
If you want to do something
I have a request for ●●. / I would like to request ●●.
If you want to be more polite when making a request to the other party, choose would like.
4. Inquiry details
At the beginning of the text, give an overview of your inquiry, then give details of your request and what's happening here. Here, I will explain in detail with example sentences.
1. 1. I received a notification that the product has been shipped, but I haven't received it yet. Can you tell me the delivery status ? Hmm?)
2. 2. I received the product, but it was partially broken. Can you exchange it for a new one?
3. 3. I would like to change the arrival date of the product I ordered.
4. Can (May) I add two more people to my reservation?
1 and 2 are common problems in mail order. For a more polite request, you can paraphrase Can you as Could you or Would you, or add Please at the end of the sentence.
What should I do when making inquiries by phone? Introducing expressions and points
Next, let's see how to make inquiries by phone. It is more important to keep in mind the content before making an inquiry than when writing an email.
First of all, it is important to tell from the requirements
As with email, it's important to start with your requirements by phone. Here, I will explain with example sentences that can actually be used.
1. 1. I have a question about the A-3 dress in the catalog, do you have it in stock in size LL? (I have a question about the A-3 dress in the catalog. Do you have LL size in stock?)
2. 2. I have an inquiry about your product. When do you stop selling limited time ice cream?
3. 3. This is Yamada and I made a reservation for two people for October 25th at 7pm. I want my wife to get a surprise birthday cake. I'd like you to prepare.)
If you have already ordered or reserved a product, tell us your name and order details in advance so that the inquiry will proceed smoothly.
If you can't hear it, talk slowly and it's OK
If you're not that confident in English yet, telephone conversations can be tense. However, as with face-to-face conversations, it's okay if you listen back or ask them to speak slowly.
If you can't hear it, you can use the following expressions.
I'm sorry? (Excuse me?): It's a relatively light way of listening back.
Can you repeat that please?: Use this phrase when you want the other person to repeat that please.
Could you speak more slowly?: If you can't hear it, ask for it as early as possible.
Be sure to say thank you at the end
At the end of your inquiry, be sure to thank you for responding to this question or request. There are the following expressions.
Thank you so much. (Thank you very much.): This is a basic thank-you expression.
Thank you for the help. ): If you have any flexibility or polite response, let me know.
I am looking forward to receiving the product. (I am looking forward to receiving the product.): In some cases, you may want to add such an expression.
Inquiries in English may seem like a daunting task if you are not familiar with them, but if you keep the points in mind, you can do it smoothly.
The important thing is to make inquiries as easy as possible and narrow down the points. Also, it is important not to forget not only emails and phone calls, but also etiquette and thank-you words to be observed.