When it comes to maintaining customer relationships, communication is key – Here are quick tips for improving email communications.
Throughout the month, we explore opportunities for new leads and new ways to make contact. From perfecting social media accounts to launching the perfect email marketing campaign, communication is key. The first few touchpoints with prospects may get a new client in the door, but maintaining regular and quality communication is what will keep them there. In a world of hashtags and shortened texts, it is easy to get lax on email and lose your professional edge.
As with any relationship, trust is a must, and through proper and professional dialogue and delivery, you slowly build that trust with clients. A few missed spelling errors or incorrect use of terminology can change an active contact to inactive in just a few short clicks. For this reason, it is important to have basic standards set for your company’s email etiquette and policies. Here are a few simple tips to get started:
- Use spellcheck – Although this one is obvious, I still receive emails with spelling errors. With mobile technology from phones to tablets, email is becoming less formal. Whether you are on the go or on a casual-basis with clients, check your spelling. With spellcheck automatically built-in to most email platforms, there is no reason to overlook it.
- Proofread – With spellcheck taking care of spelling, it is your job to make sure you have complete sentences and that you are clearly communicating your points. Also, be aware that spellcheck does not always catch the difference between “their” and “there” or “to” and “too”, so you will need to review grammar and language on your own.
- Offer a Greeting – When opening an email, it is nice to offer a “Good Morning” or “Hello”. You never know what mood or day the recipient may be having when he/she opens your email, so it is always a benefit to have a warm welcome and greeting from the start.
- Perfect the Signature – The signature on an email is more than just adding another level of contact information; it is the perfect place to offer social media links and information on upcoming events or discounts. Your entire staff should double-check signatures for correct contact information. The signature is often the last place to be updated with new addresses, extensions or information.
- Know the Name – Misspelling a client’s name is a very easy error to make and can make you appear less personal or interested in the client. There are so many variations to spelling names, so make a habit of looking at how the client has spelled his/her name to ensure you get it right. Referring to a “Cathy” as “Kathy” will quickly be noticed by the recipient, and quite often such simple errors can be taken personally.
- Remove Emotion – If you find yourself responding to an email while emotionally charged, stop. Once you press “send”, your words cannot be taken back. Even under the best conditions, issues can and will arise on a project. It is important to not allow your email to be reactive. When driven by an emotional response, take a break and return when you have a clearer perspective on the issue.
- Check Attachments – When adding attachments to an email, make sure you are choosing the most updated version and the correct file. Additionally, you should review the file size. If the file is too large, it can cause issues for the person opening the email and may even be automatically resized. If you cannot reduce the size of the file, consider offering a link to a cloud drive so that the recipient can download the file in the proper format.
- Define Your Subject – The subject line should reflect the content of the email. Be specific. Using just the words “update” or “hello” is not useful for a person who may be filtering through their inbox. If it is regarding a job, include the job name, number or status of the project. If it is regarding billing, include an invoice number and service type.
- Only “Cc” as Needed – When choosing to “Cc” another company contact, it should be for a contact that requires the information. Often, contacts will be looped into email strings that do not pertain to his/her work which takes away from time one could be dedicating to real priorities. In order to save valuable time and money, only include additional contacts when required.
- Offer a Closing – A little “thank you” can go a long way in closing an email. Closing your emails with “Best Regards”, “Sincerely” or “Thank you” is better than just leaving your signature to cover it. Perhaps your client is heading on vacation, has an upcoming holiday or weekend – Take the time to wish him/her well, and use your closing as a way to show that you care.
By taking the time to review your current email practices and making improvements where necessary, you can strengthen your communications and client relationships going forward. Just as with any policy, regular review and maintenance is vital for success. Whether you have new employees or a team that could use a reminder, making proper email etiquette a priority can go a long way in maintaining your company’s professionalism on and off the job site.
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