How To Write a Feedback Letter in 5 Steps (Plus Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published January 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Some professionals are unsure of the proper way to provide feedback to employees, vendors or clients. If you want to offer constructive criticism productively, consider writing a feedback letter. This medium allows you to praise others for their efforts while suggesting ways to improve their performance. In this article, we explore different types of feedback letters, teach you how to write a feedback letter and offer expert tips.

What is a feedback letter?

A feedback letter is a document that evaluates a product, event, transaction or someone's performance. In professional contexts, these documents help facilitate communication and build relationships between clients, vendors and companies. A feedback letter may express appreciation to motivate the recipient and confirm what they did well in a situation. These documents also offer constructive criticism by indicating areas where the recipient can improve.

Types of feedback letters

Here are some of the main types of feedback letters:

Employee evaluations

Many employers assess their employees on an annual or semiannual basis. These evaluations allow them to determine if the employee adequately performs their duties and whether they're eligible for a raise or promotion. An employee feedback letter may include a summary of the recipient's major responsibilities and praise for their performance. Employers also use this opportunity to indicate areas of improvement and offer suggestions. Additionally, feedback letters may describe the consequences if an employee refuses to adapt their behavior to meet the company's standards.

Related: Employee Evaluation Forms (2021 Template and FAQs)

Vendor reviews

Organizations often strive to connect with their vendors, as these relationships can ensure consistent access to resources at a good price. If you're responsible for ordering materials for your organization, you might find it useful to write a feedback letter for your vendor. You can describe your company's experience with the product and express your gratitude. Your letter may also suggest improvements, allowing your company to source higher-quality products for its customers.

Organization reviews

High-level managers often visit stores in their districts to evaluate their performance. They can get valuable insights for a feedback letter by observing the store's employees, supervisors and infrastructure. The letter might praise the store's cleanliness, sales performance or overall customer satisfaction. If the manager notices safety issues, they can note these concerns in the letter and provide deadlines for making the necessary changes.

Student evaluations

Teachers are typically responsible for informing parents about their children's progress. Feedback letters are an efficient way to provide updates on a student's grades and behavior. While letters can praise a student's progress and encourage parents to continue to support them, they're also a good opportunity to address challenges. For instance, if a student struggles to reach a certain reading level, the teacher might instruct parents to practice with their child at home.

How to write a feedback letter

Follow these steps to write an effective feedback letter:

1. Create a letterhead

At the top of your feedback letter, consider creating a letterhead. Adding your name and your company's name and address clarifies who the letter is from and establishes your professional credibility. You can make the letter appear even more formal by including your company's logo as well. After you add your information, skip a line and type the date of the letter's writing. Skip another line and add the recipient's name, company and job title. Finally, skip another line and add a salutation using the recipient's formal title. Here's an example of an appropriate letterhead:

Cyrus Oz
Billiards Eagle Inc.
102 Healy St.
Magnolia, AR 71753

December 8, 2021

Alexa Jost
Green Cultivation
Production Manager

Dear Ms. Jost,

Note that you can customize the sender and recipient's information. For instance, if the recipient doesn't know you that well, you might include your job title under your name. Some senders also include other elements like company taglines.

Related: How To Make a Professional-Quality Letterhead in Word

2. Express appreciation

Though many people associate feedback letters with constructive criticism, it's important to begin by expressing appreciation. Try to thank the recipient for providing you with a product or service, or remind them that you're grateful for the relationship you have with them. For instance, if you're writing to a vendor to review one of their products, you might thank them for allowing your company to be one of the first test subjects. If you're writing a supervisor writing an evaluation letter, you can express how valuable the employee is to the company.

3. Offer praise

Even if the main reason you're writing a feedback letter is to provide constructive criticism, consider offering praise. Try to be specific about what the recipient or the company did well. For instance, a supervisor might cite specific examples of how the employee exceeded the company's customer service standards. If your feedback letter discusses a store's performance, you could mention how the store has an inspiring team culture. These positive remarks can reinforce good behavior, boost morale and encourage the recipient to maintain a relationship with the sender.

Related: Ideas and Tips for Giving Praise in the Workplace

4. Provide constructive criticism

One of the most useful parts of a feedback letter is constructive criticism. This technique involves indicating how an employee or product didn't meet a company's expectations. For instance, a letter might note a product defect or an employee's conflict with a customer. Briefly mention how these shortcomings affect the company, but try to focus on providing actionable solutions. You might advise the recipient to adjust their behavior or revise a product within a certain time frame. You could also mention the positive benefits that could occur if they make those changes, such as improved customer service and overall profits.

Related: Understanding Constructive Criticism: Definition, Tips and Examples

5. Conclude the letter

As you can conclude your letter, you can summarize your main criticisms, the solutions you've offered and the importance of implementing them. You can also reiterate your praise and appreciation for your relationship with the recipient to end the letter positively. Conclude by adding a salutation, your name and your contact information.

Related: How To End a Letter To Make a Lasting Impression (With Examples)

Tips for writing feedback letters

Here are some expert tips for writing feedback letters:

  • Choose the appropriate medium. While you could use pen and paper to create your feedback letter, consider writing an email or printing out a copy that you typed in a word processor. These media tend to appear more professional and may make the reader more receptive to feedback.

  • Use formal language. Letters tend to be a professional communication medium, making it important to use formal language. Try to remain objective while giving your constructive criticism, and make sure to proofread the final document for spelling and grammar errors.

  • Follow up. After sending the letter, consider giving the recipient a week or so to respond. If they don't acknowledge receiving the letter, you can follow up to see if they have questions or if you can provide them with support to implement your suggestions.

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