Given that there are 4 billion daily email users according to Hubspot, it's very likely that email plays a pivotal role in how you communicate with customers and coworkers every workday. Whether it’s to communicate internally, carry out sales transactions or send out marketing materials to recruit new business, the manner in which you and your team communicate using email is crucial.
Despite the widespread use of email for business, there are many mistakes made repeatedly by businesses of all sizes. For instance, despite 64% of small businesses turning to email for their marketing campaigns, 1 in 5 of these email campaigns are not optimized for viewing on mobile devices. Customers who can’t easily view email content are much more likely to delete the email without making an attempt at reading the message. This is just one example of an email mishap that would be easy to avoid.
When authoring emails for regular business communication on a daily basis, there are even more elements to consider. These include:
- Using impactful opening and closing statements
- Choosing the perfect subject line
- Proofreading your message prior to sending
Email, despite its convenience and utility, poses a number of potential pitfalls.
Keep it confidential
Email is a great platform for communicating asynchronously with a huge variety of people for any given purpose. As such, many people have come to rely on it for communicating almost every type of message. We often forget that email is not a confidential way of exchanging information however. Though it might be the easiest way to communicate with someone, it’s not always going to be the safest or smartest choice.
A good rule of thumb to follow when considering confidentiality (or lack thereof) in email is to ask yourself whether you’d be okay with the email being forwarded to someone else. If there’s content in the email that cannot be seen by anyone else, that’s a good indicator that a more confidential platform should be considered instead.
Turning anger into loyalty
Just as many people find it easier to post unkind comments on the internet when they’re hiding behind their computer screens, customers can sometimes use email as a means of expressing anger or frustration. The customer is upset about a problem or a situation and is communicating that through a written email that happens to end up in your inbox. So, while it might feel very personal, the reality is that it’s not about you specifically. By keeping this in perspective, you’ll be able to better respond to the customer’s email and, hopefully, solve their problem.
There’s a benefit to handling irate customers over email – unlike speaking with a customer on the phone or face-to-face, email provides you the opportunity to pause, take a breath, and consider how best to reply. You’re more likely to solve the problem and less likely to make the situation worse because of your own emotions – regardless of how tempting it is to send a reply equally as hostile as the message you received. Since we know that customers whose problems are solved quickly and completely by customer service representatives end up being more loyal to that business, you then have a better chance to turn an irate customer into a repeat one.
Prepare for the reply apocalypse
If you’ve ever been caught up in a reply apocalypse, you know how frustrating misuse of the ‘reply all’ button can be. One mistaken reply to everyone included on the initial email turns into several emails asking to be removed from the email list and suddenly your inbox is inundated with messages from a single email thread.
Mishandling of the ‘reply all’ feature will frustrate colleagues and cost you potential business. These types of email storms are massive time wasters given that each recipient must take the time to read or delete the email, interrupting the current work they’re doing and potentially causing people to get off track.
‘Reply all’ can certainly be used effectively in business settings when employed correctly. This is done by removing anyone from the address field who does not need to see your reply. There are very few instances when everyone on a mass email needs to see your message, so be careful if you do choose to use ‘reply all’ without removing recipients.
By learning what matters are better discussed off email, how to handle irate customers and the correct way to use the ‘reply all’ button, your team will be better equipped to use email for professional purposes. To learn many more best practice suggestions for email, contact a ServiceSkills representative today and request a free demo of Email MattersSM: The Art of Better Service. Be sure to share these other great topics from this series with your team!
- Creating Great Subject Lines
- Writing with Conviction, Jargon and Shortcuts, and Responding Promptly
- Address Fields and Opening and Closing Lines
- Face-to-Face Communication vs. Email
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