Email etiquette – how to win and lose customers

Monday January 17th, 2011, 9:30 am

By email (as the sender), how long do you have to make an impression on the recipient?  Maximum, five seconds, before they form an opinion of you (the sender), for better or worse. That goes for every aspect of business be it internal and external communications, eg job applications, journalists, prospects, etc.   Often it’s for worse.  Stefan Stern’s article ‘Is the vehicle registered in your name‘ prompted me to reflect on the current state of email etiquette or rather lack of it.

How you open, close and construct an email is your email dress code.  Sloppy email, sloppy you.  Professional email and it makes one feel I’d like to do business with this person.  The way an email is framed can make or break a business relationship.

Let us not forget that for most businesses an email is still  a formal communication.  Indeed, it bears your business’s/organisation’s name, not to mention your own name.

Yet, when was the last time you had any email etiquette training?  Never.  You are not alone.  Here is the most commonly and frequently used business communications tool and yet our surveys show that less than 30% of business people are ever given any guidelines on what is acceptable and what is not.  In part of course the standard of today’s email etiquette is also a reflection of the appalling standard of school teaching.  But that’s  another story.

For example what guidelines are there in your organisation/business on:

  • How to open and close an email
  • Grammar and spelling
  • Phraseology to use which reflects your business
  • Use of jargon
  • Text speak and use of emoticons.
  • Content of the signature block.

These are some of the items covered in this week’s blogs.

Meanwhile, please feel free to use my Email Etiquette Checklist to audit a few of the emails you recently sent.

For more time saving tips and hints why not buy a copy of one of our books or let us run a Smart Email Management workshop for you and your colleagues.
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