For many of us, the Email is our “Go To” method of business communication. It is easy, quick and you don’t have to worry about disturbing the recipient with an ill-timed phone call. The recipient can read it when they are ready.
But, are you using Email to best effect? Here are a few quick tips to help you craft a better Email, and make the most of this useful tool.
A clear layout
A clear layout with paragraphs and bullet points as needed will make your Email easier to read. Easier to read means it is more likely to get read thoroughly. Reading it thoroughly means the required actions are more likely to be carried out.
Who needs a copy?
Don’t copy in everyone you can think of, just in case they are interested. They probably aren’t. People get lots of Emails and if you get a reputation for sending an Email every time your cat sneezes, your Emails will be the ones that people don’t open. A quick rule of thumb is only to send to people on a “Need to Know” basis.
Why are you Emailing me?
When people open an Email they need to know, very quickly, why you sent it to them, what action they need to take, and how soon that action should be completed. A good Email will make all of this as clear as possible as early as possible. It is best practice to put action addressees in the main Email address box and information addressees in the Carbon Copy (CC) box if at all possible.
For the love of all that is furry and cute, please don’t do this unless you absolutely have to. It might seem like a quick way to tell everyone you agree with them, but it becomes a tangled mass of replies. At some point, someone will think they are replying to a single person in confidence, say something inappropriate or ill-advised, and find they’ve just told everyone about that. Reply All is notorious for the many ways in which it can backfire on you. It has brought down entire Email systems, caused friendships to end and been cited in Tribunal hearings as evidence. Always check that you are replying only to the person you think you are replying to.
If you are Blind Carbon Copied, and you reply all, you will expose your presence as an addressee. Depending on the circumstances, this could be embarrassing or escalate a situation.
In some Email systems, you can disable Reply All. For the sake of harmony in the workplace, this can be a good plan if it is feasible.
Bigger than Ben Hur.
If there is a long Email chain, look to see if your question has already been answered. Asking it again doesn’t look very professional and adds to the volume of messages without adding value.
War and Peace
Emails should be concise and to the point. Use an appropriate level of detail and consider whether all the information is essential. Weeding out unnecessary information results in a better Email.
Same But Different
Do you get lots of very similar Email enquiries into your business? Perhaps you get lots of people asking if you are open on Saturdays, requesting a price list, or needing to confirm bookings. Rather than spending lots of time answering these similar Emails individually, why not create some template Emails. In most cases, you will be able to send the Email just as it is written, and if it doesn’t quite fit, you can tweak it to make it more appropriate. It can be a great way to save a bit of time without compromising on customer service. Get in touch with me here if you would like to find out more about how I can help you with template emails and Inbox management services.