Emails are an integral part of any process and play a very vital role in communication. Be it inbound or outbound communication the mails are supposed to be clear, precise and well-written. Drafting an email is a simple yet a difficult task. Our Support Team communicates with our customers via emails and most issues are resolved through emails. However, as simple as it may sound, communicating via an email is not a piece of cake. The communication can go for a toss if what is written in the mail is misinterpreted. So, if you wish to stay on the safer side, you can adhere to certain email etiquette that our QA has spelled out for the rest of the Support Team to follow. The email etiquette to be adhered to are as follows-
Know your job- Firstly, you must understand that you are working in an organisation and the email id you use for communicating isn’t your personal email id. So, do not use it for sending jokes, non-business related emails or chain letters. Keep it professional and use your email id for the sole purpose of conducting business as you are responsible for upholding your company’s dignity.
Introduce yourself- Do not assume that the person you are communicating with already knows you or could identify your email id. So if you are contacting a new client, introduce yourself and your organisation in the most precise manner you can think of. Or if it is someone you had contacted earlier and failed to revert and you are trying to get in touch with them, gently remind them of yourself and your previous communication. The introduction should be brief, to-the- point and do not indulge in recreating your autobiography.
Focus on the SUBJECT- Make sure that the Subject liner which you use is effective. It has to be appealing, appealing enough for the customer to open your mail. The Subject would be the “make or break” tool for you. If your email arrives in a customer’s inbox with some lame Subject Liner, you can already predict that it would be ignored like the other mails that failed to capture the customer’s attention. So think hard and think of a Subject that would convey your message across very strongly and prompt the customer into reading your mail! Also, make sure that the Subject Liner that you choose is short in length and is relevant to the content of your mail, because you wouldn’t want to confuse your customer. So, make it short and relevant!
No bad news please- Never ever break a bad news to a customer on emails. Be it firing a vendor or terminating a customer’s service, never resort to emails to break the news to them. Also, in case of conversing with colleagues, never use the reprimanding tone or the mocking manner (specially if it’s about a senior) as emails might look informal but this correspondence is firmly engraved somewhere or the other and stays forever. So refrain the impulse to lash out at anyone on mails!
Exclamation Alert!- When communicating with a client, or a new customer, refrain from using the exclamation mark (!) more than once. This appears forced though you are trying to look all cheerful and excited to have them on-board but with too many exclamation marks you would end up looking over-zealous and that won’t help your cause. So, stick to a single exclamation mark and appear professional.
Appropriate reply at the appropriate time- When you get a mail from a customer and it consists of a query, you have to treat it seriously. If you wish to reply at an appropriate time, revert within the next 1 hour and if the mail has to be escalated, it should be done immediately and you should revert to the customer within the next 3 hours! Anything more than that would ensure you a disgruntled customer. Everything here depends upon the time you take to reply to the customer. Treat every email with the same importance and with the same sense of urgency that you would show to resolve bigger issues!
Watch the language- Whenever you are communicating with a client, make sure you use the proper language. And by proper language, I mean a language sans slang, SMS lingo, emojis, jargons and informal one liners. Keep these at bay when you are communicating via email. It should be tailor-made, to suit the client with whom you would be interacting. And yes! Better do a spell-check before you send out the email because what you write would reflect your company’s image. Bad grammar would surely show you and your company in poor light and would question your credibility. So pay attention to the grammar and the language.
The “Reply to all” button- Before you hit the “Reply to all” button, give it a thought. If it is a mail which everyone in the message chain needs to know, go ahead and hit the button. If not, then you would be held guilty of unnecessarily bombarding their inboxes with unnecessary mails. So, think twice before going for the “Reply to all” option.
Say no to many attachments- Whenever you are sending attachments to your client, it would be better to inform them prior that your next mail would consist of heavy attachments. If your client receives a big attachment, which they might find unnecessary, you would be the victim of their wrath. If you can, try and limit the attachments to just two and that too only when they would ask you for any additional attachments. Do not bombard them with unnecessary details.
Leave your signature mark- If your client wishes to get in touch with you, and particularly with you, you wouldn’t want them to keep searching for you on the social media platforms. So, what you can do to relieve them from this odious task is put in your signature at the end of every mail. If you are a social media pro, include all your social media information in your signature. This would help your clients connect with you easily. This would indicate that they can approach you with their queries and you would readily help them reach their solutions.
So, these are the email etiquette that any employee, irrespective of being a part of the Support Team or not has to follow if they wish to create the right impression on their clients. Every employee is walking on thin ice when it comes to dealing with their clients. Emails are a very volatile option, with the proper persuasive language you can have a lifelong loyal customer but if your message is misinterpreted, you know how a disgruntled customer works. Their discontent spreads like wildfire and before you even realize, you would have lost around 5 to 10 customers already! So, pay attention to what you write and how you write!
Good luck writing!