These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find an organization that doesn’t rely on email for internal communication, customer service and sales. While it’s true that the phone will always be an important tool in the business world, email offers many benefits that phone or face-to-face interactions cannot. For instance, when using email, you can:
- Attach helpful links or documents for later review by the recipient
- Use various tools for emphasis in the body of your email
- Take time to carefully construct a mistake-free message of the appropriate length that captures all you need to say
And the list could go on. According to Emarsys, 80% of businesses are using email to attract and retain customers. But do all of those businesses know how to use this tool as effectively as they should? That’s unlikely. In your own communications with other companies or in your experiences as a customer, you’ve probably noticed that not all email communication is created equal. That is, people frequently make many common mistakes when using email for business. These include:
- Writing lengthy messages that take more than two minutes to read
- Using ineffective subject lines, including those that are too long to be displayed on a mobile phone screen
- Misusing the address fields
- Neglecting to proofread messages, leaving spelling and grammar mistakes that hinder the recipient’s understanding of the message or give them a poor impression of the sender
Despite the salience of email in business, there is a lot that can go wrong. Luckily for you and your employees, there are three things that will move you closer to writing expert business emails time and time again.
Write with Conviction
There are certain words which, despite seeming very innocent, undermine the strength of your message and are best avoided. Even though these words appear in everyday conversation, they have a noticeably negative impact when used with customers.
These weak words include but certainly aren’t limited to:
When you use these words in an email to customers, your message sounds less confident and less believable to the recipient. For instance, note the difference in these two sentences:
“I guess I was just calling to see if you might be interested in a new home equity line of credit.”
“I’m calling to learn how interested you’d be in a new home equity line of credit.”
It’s easy for a customer to turn down the first version. The second, however, is much more convincing. By simply removing these words from your correspondence, your message will come across stronger, demonstrating to customers that you’re more than capable of handling their problem or closing the deal.
Leave behind the abbreviations
While industry-specific jargon and abbreviations might seem like a familiar language to you, this type of writing can be extremely confusing for those outside of your organization – most specifically, your customers. Additionally, the use of jargon and abbreviations, even those that you might consider to be well-known beyond your business or industry, comes across as casual and unprofessional. In all cases, it’s best to omit such language in favor of writing words out in their entirety and using terms that would be understood by the public instead.
There’s no need to “play hard to get” when it comes to business emails. Leaving emails received during business hours unread or unanswered is likely to frustrate your colleagues and customers alike, particularly if they’ve contacted you with a time-sensitive inquiry. Additionally, a lack of response may lead the sender to wonder if you received the email at all, causing them unnecessary worry or feeling as though they need to send a follow-up email.
All of this frustration and worry can be avoided, though, with a prompt reply. When possible, read the message in its entirety and reply right then, being sure to note what actions need to be taken as a result. Sometimes, though, it’s not possible to give lengthier messages the time and consideration they deserve in the midst of a particularly busy period. In these cases, reply to the email explaining that you’ve received the email and plan to read it in full, and send a complete response by a designated time. This will set the sender’s mind at ease with the knowledge that the message has been received, and it will hold you accountable for providing a reply by a specific time. The next step, of course, is to ensure that you follow through on doing so.
While these tips are guaranteed to help you write high-quality emails, they’re only a few of many helpful suggestions for writing truly excellent business emails. To learn the rest of the skills you and your team will need to deliver top-notch customer service, both internally and externally, via email, contact a ServiceSkills representative today or use the calendar below and request a free demo of Email Matters: The Art of Better Service. Be sure to check out these other great courses in the Email MattersSM series:
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