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There are many ways to capitalize on the popularity of email as a method of business communication. If you’re using email for marketing purposes, you’re in luck – according to Salecycle, 59% of consumers say that their purchasing decisions are influenced by emails they received. For 81% of B2B marketers, email newsletters are their most used tool for distributing marketing content according to Content Marketing Institute. Email marketing seems to be the most effective way of gaining business leads, too.

What happens once you’ve used email to send out information on your product or service and this translates to interest from the customer though? If you’re continuing to do business through email, as 80% of businesses do according to Emarsys, the specifics of how email is used by each individual member of your team become much more important.

When communicating either internally with colleagues or externally with customers, every member of your team should know why email matters as well as the many recommendations for using email most effectively to enhance your organization’s reputation as a top customer service provider. Common advice for using email for business includes:

  • Striking the right balance in the subject line
  • Writing a brief but thorough message
  • Using the address fields appropriately

One of email’s difficulties is the fact that it’s difficult to convey tone when communicating only through writing. This means that, even when following the best practice suggestions such as those just listed, it’s possible to miss the mark with your email messages.

Focusing on the particulars

Given the frequency with which you and your team will use email to do your jobs, it’s very likely that you’re not always in the exact same type of mood when it comes time to send a message. Sometimes, you might be angry about something that happened that day or you may be dealing with an irate customer. Other times, you might be in a great mood and want to sprinkle some humor into your message. To manage the wide array of emotions you might be feeling when authoring emails, it’s important to strike the right balance between communicating your message fully and remaining professional and appropriate.

Authoring emails when angry

Regardless of the context – how you’re feeling when writing the email, who the email is being sent to, or what has happened during your workday or in your personal life – work emails must always strike a professional tone. Just as you wouldn’t want to let your negative emotions bleed into a phone or face-to-face conversation with a customer, you should keep anger or frustration out of email.

When we let our emotions about one situation influence how we react to another, that’s called ‘emotional leakage.’ Once you’re aware of ‘emotional leakage,’ you can work to ensure that your emails are free of any anger or frustration that might be stemming from an unrelated situation. Similarly, the content of the email that you’re replying to might provoke feelings of anger in you.

Regardless of the cause, the remedy is the same – take some space from the email before formulating a reply. Better yet, send a brief reply stating that you’ve received the email and will reply in full later. This way the sender knows that they can expect a reply, and you can take the time to cool down before doing so. If necessary, it can be a good idea to run your reply by a colleague before sending to ensure you’re not inadvertently still expressing anger.

Using humor in email

On the other hand, you may sometimes be tempted to employ humor in your email messages to communicate a light-hearted or personal tone to the recipient. While it’s a wonderful thing to want to make a colleague or customer laugh, humor should be used carefully in business email.

Rather than attempting to make someone laugh out loud, aim for gentler humor. You’ll still manage to convey a sense of warmth and light-heartedness, but you’ll greatly reduce the risk of offending someone with a joke that didn’t quite land. Additionally, sarcasm is best avoided when using email – and in business communication in general. It’s highly unlikely that a sarcastic comment will be perceived in the way you intend; however, it is very possible you’ll damage your relationship with the recipient instead.

To learn examples of acceptable humor to use in business email, tips for avoiding ‘emotional leakage’ and dozens more suggestions for delivering exceptional customer service, internally and externally, through email, contact ServiceSkills today and request a free demo of Email MattersSM: The Art of Better Service. Be sure to watch these videos on popular topics in this series!


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