The Golden Rules of Customer Service: Email Etiquette
Technology has allowed us to communicate with one another in more ways than one. Gone forever are the days of strictly face-to-face interactions, thanks to inventions like the telephone and Internet. We are now able to communicate with another person without even having to meet them. The invention of the Internet has spurred numerous avenues of communication, but the one most widely used is email.
As a business owner, having email allows you to connect with your customers, answer questions they may have and get feedback on their experiences. Email allows you to quickly communicate with your employees on important issues.
Just as there are correct and incorrect ways to use tools in your shop, there are correct and incorrect ways to use email. This article will shed light on some basic rules of email etiquette.
Don’t Rely Solely on Email
If you choose email as your sole form of communication, your intended message will be misunderstood at some point.
“As humans, we get 55 percent of our communication through body language and 35 percent through tone of voice,” said Claudia St. John, president of Affinity HR Group. “That means that only 10 percent of our true communication is through the written word — words that are actually used. People need to realize that they’re lopping off most of their effectiveness in communication by strictly relying on email. When you’re only relying on email to communicate, the opportunity for there to be miscommunication is huge.”
Avoid Using the “Reply All” Button
More likely than not, you will receive an email that was sent out to multiple people at once. There’s nothing more aggravating than receiving numerous email replies that have nothing to do with you. When you receive a mass email, make sure you hit “Reply.” On the other hand, if you’re the one sending the mass email, make sure to let everyone know if a “Reply All” is unnecessary.
“If you’re sending out a mass email with the potential for numerous ‘Reply All’ messages, we recommend you state in your email, ‘Please don’t reply all,’ or, ‘Please reply directly to me. No need to reply all,’” St. John said. “That way, the people you’re sending the message to know the flow of communication is to you and not to everyone else.”
Review and Reread Your Email
With today’s fast-paced, gotta-have-it-done-now attitude, it’s easy to quickly type up an email and send it on its way without really thinking about what you wrote. This can be dangerous and cause your intended message to be misconstrued. Take time to review, edit and revise your message.
“Email communication is a very tricky thing, and one should always be mindful before hitting the ‘Send’ key,” St. John said. “Ask yourself, ‘Is my tone correct? Is my audience correct? Have I said what I meant to say?’ Assume that you’re going to be misinterpreted and figure out how you can fix that before you hit send.”