By: Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Speaker, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training.
We can all get ‘nailed’ in a bad email. As they say, “It can happen to anyone.” But there are ways to alleviate that issue.
Here are 5 areas to improve on and help get you better results.
1. Poor Grammar and Spelling
This leads the pack of annoyances and shouts you didn’t proofread your email nor did you use spell check.
Your and you’re along with their, there and they’re appear to be the most offensive and widespread. It’s also the ones we hear the most about. Granted, spell check is not your friend with some of these words if they are indeed spelled correctly. That’s why proofing your emails, double checking, is more critical than ever, especially if you’re trying to make a good impression. Want the easy way out? Use the old author trick. When in doubt – leave it out. (Example: I have trouble with “effect and affect.” So guess what? I don’t use them. Sad to say, when you use the wrong your/you’re or their/there/they’re, you appear (and I don’t like this word) stupid. Bad enough normal misspellings come into play. But the wrong use of words we all learned in 3rd grade seem to really bug the public.
2. Wrong Subject Line
Most folks realize a subject line is crucial. But what is easily forgotten is when you change your topic within the email, consider changing the subject line. Common sense? It would seem so, but again, we all know common sense is not that common. If you’re sending out a proposal, the subject line might read, Proposal for You. And perhaps 4 or 5 emails down the road (or even the same day or in a few days), the client says “YES, let’s go with this,” you might want to suggest a celebratory lunch. CHANGE THE SUBJECT LINE. Even if you’re using the original subject line: Proposal For You – add in after that: A Thank You Lunch. At least there’s a difference, a new idea, topic. And you and the client can find the email faster when you’re looking for it. Plus, it tells the recipient there is new info here.
3. Message Length
Mini is back in style. Long posts are not very favorable. Everyone seems busier than ever. Worse case, at least let the recipient know the post is long right in the subject line or use an attachment. (Or somewhere in the first few lines of the email.) Rule of thumb? Your signature line should be seen at the bottom of the screen without scrolling.
4. Respond Rapidly
It’s the right thing to do. Not returning an email (other than spam) is rude. Simply say “Message received; will reply shortly.” Or something friendly. Or let the sender know you’re not interested. Which while not friendly, is the nice thing to do. This, at least, lets the sender know the message was received. Call it ‘neighborly’ or ‘friendly.’ It’s the nice thing to do. We all receive emails on our iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and who knows where else eventually. You can take 20 seconds to let the sender know “message received, will be back to you soon.” If you don’t respond one way or the other, the sender then may send another email wanting to know if you’ve received the first. So be kind. Respond rapidly.
5. Reply to All
Admittedly, in the ‘beginning’ I thought this was really cool. Didn’t everyone want to hear my response? Guess what? No, they didn’t. In all fairness, it should read: “FYI only.” When you get a CC that has a group of names, it means: FYI, not a request to start a conversation. (Unless the author requests input from all.) When you do need or want to reply, the reply should just go to the original sender.
5.1 Bonus Info: Starting an email that says: “I hope this finds you well” is pretty much a sign of a template, spam or blast of some sort. It’s a dead give-a-way it’s not too personal. If you’re going to use that line, consider it as a closing line, not the starting line.