Customer Service Tip of the Day: How to Master Email Etiquette for Business

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Email in the busi­ness world unfor­tu­nately gets over­looked in cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing courses these days – in fact, it’s almost seen as passé. It’s assumed that every­one is so com­fort­able with email by now, that to take extra time to train peo­ple on email eti­quette seems unnec­es­sary. How­ever, it’s exactly because peo­ple are so com­fort­able with email that they tend to for­get basic eti­quette. To give us all a reminder, today’s cus­tomer ser­vice tip of the day will serve as a refresher for the rules of busi­ness email.

Use the CC field sparingly

The first tip is to ensure you are not blast­ing email unnec­es­sar­ily to peo­ple who do not need to be involved in the issue. Over-CCing is a com­mon email eti­quette breach, typ­i­cally because peo­ple want to make sure that no one is left out. How­ever, what usu­ally ends up hap­pen­ing is that we all end up with too much email in our inboxes because we are unnec­es­sar­ily CCd by every­one. If you are in sales, be very cau­tious about the CC but­ton. Are you let­ting your sales con­tacts in on infor­ma­tion that should oth­er­wise be kept within your com­pany? The CC but­ton should be used selec­tively and you should not use it as your default mode.



Know what your main point is, and stick to just that one point

How many times have you received an email with so many dif­fer­ent topics/points that you for­get to respond to the mul­ti­ple sub­jects in the email? For max­i­mum clar­ity, make one point per email and stick to it. When you are com­mu­ni­cat­ing with clients, keep your emails suc­cinct and to the point. Focus on the one point and include any rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion that dri­ves home the point. Part of your job in cus­tomer ser­vice is to make your clients’ lives eas­ier by mak­ing sure they have the infor­ma­tion they need and that they can quickly find what they need from you.

It’s hard to sense sar­casm in an email

The things that you can com­mu­ni­cate in face-to-face con­ver­sa­tion do not always trans­late well in a writ­ing con­text. Sar­casm, in par­tic­u­lar, is easy to mis­in­ter­pret, and peo­ple may end up feel­ing insulted if they read the email wrong. Remem­ber, email is a pro­fes­sional medium and it needs to be treated as more of a for­mal let­ter than a casual one – espe­cially with clients.

Remem­ber your gram­mar and punctuation

Along the same lines of the pre­vi­ous point, emails should not be writ­ten too casu­ally. Use proper gram­mar and punc­tu­a­tion and avoid using tex­ting favorites such as “LOL,” or “IMO.” Email is not tex­ting. If you wouldn’t use a word or phrase in a hand-written let­ter to a client, don’t include it in an email.

Don’t for­ward emails with­out an explanation

Email for­ward­ing should gen­er­ally be avoided – espe­cially long chains of emails that force peo­ple to scroll down to the bot­tom to fig­ure out the sequence of events so they can fol­low what is going on. Instead of for­ward­ing emails, make life eas­ier for your clients and col­leagues by mak­ing your point clear in an email, sum­ma­riz­ing what has been said by oth­ers, and if nec­es­sary, includ­ing any rel­e­vant email details by copy­ing and past­ing them into the bot­tom of your email.



Make a pos­i­tive impres­sion with email

Email is an inte­gral part of how we all com­mu­ni­cate in busi­ness, but make sure you don’t get sloppy with it or that it loses its pro­fes­sion­al­ism. Set your­self and your com­pany apart by tak­ing the extra time to be care­ful about what goes into your emails and who receives them. Remem­ber, great cus­tomer ser­vice is all in the details.

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