A chocolate shop that makes customized candies for commercial clients receives an unexpectedly large order from a four-star hotel. The shop runs out of stock and delivers late. After making a verbal apology, the store's management follows up with a careful yet friendly letter that congratulates the hotel for its successful promotion and suggests a get-together to discuss the hotel's future needs.

The contents of that letter and nearly 200 other model letters are found in The Complete Customer Service Letter Book, by Ed Werz and Sally Germain (McGraw-Hill, 1993, $34.95). The book is well organized, so it's easy to find smart examples of how to word a price increase, respond to an unhappy customer threatening legal action, or woo back a lost customer. Looking for more customer feedback? Chapter 18 presents nine sample cover letters for surveys.

The authors penned most of the letters in the line of their business-to-business consulting work. A few are borrowed: in one, Ben & Jerry's explains its recycling policy; there's also a precious letter from Tiffany & Co. gracefully declining to help the authors. The book also includes a sample customer-ser-vice manual that, like the letters, can easily be adapted to fit a company's needs. And all documents are literally at your fingertips: a disk (3.5-inch, double density) of all the letters is enclosed on the back cover. The letters file is easy to install on a PC.

CEOs serious about offering fast, responsive customer service will find this book a real time-saver. To order it, call 800-262-4729.

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