Even with the presence of construction management software, email still plays a significant role in business interactions. As it is more formal than social media interactions and better for topics that require more in depth answers or a measure of privacy, how you handle emails with your clients or employees speaks volumes about you. Since people have their own styles of emailing and use it for so many different purposes, miscommunication can easily occur. So, to avoid any miscommunication from occurring in the first place, try following these 9 tips:
- Never forget that your email is a direct reflection of you.
Each email you send could potentially add to or reduce from your character standing. If your email contains all sorts of misspelled words, grammatical errors, or poor use of words, the recipient (whether it be a past/present/potential client or employee) will see you as error prone, and not to mention disorganized. You definitely don’t want one simple email to lose you a client or an employee and cause either to write you off immediately.
- Stay focused on the subject from the start.
Best way to flag attention to your email? Use a condensed version of your main message in the subject line. Rather than saying “Hi ______” or replying to a previous email with the automatic “RE: ……,” grab their attention with something more intriguing and informative than that. As you might be competing for read time against numerous other emails, you need to make sure yours is the one that they actually read.
- Answer in a timely manner.
You don’t have to be plugged in at all times to maintain a good customer service presence with email as it gives you the luxury of thinking about your words and crafting a thoughtful response to an email inquiry. But it definitely doesn’t hurt to set aside specific time in each day to check email and respond to your customers. Generally, it’s good to respond before 24 hours passes but responding within two days is still considered appropriate.
- Avoid angry emails and emails filled with bad news.
Would you say what you’ve typed up in that angry email to the person’s face? Probably not … which means you might want to reconsider sending that angry email. It might be a good idea to step away and take some time to cool off and revisit your email later. Also, leave the delivering of bad news to a different form of communication, as email probably isn’t best for that either.
- Briefly introduce yourself, if necessary.
If there is even the smallest chance that the recipient of your email might not recall who you are, provide a brief and personal reminder, explaining who you are, how you know each other and any other necessary details.
- Refrain from providing complex information.
Similar to how emails aren’t the place for bad news, emails are definitely not the best medium for extensive information or directions. Since the email process does not have immediate ways to clarify the message or comment/ask questions, misinterpretation may occur.
- Avoid sharing confidential information.
You don’t want to be held responsible if that email falls into the wrong hands. And since you can’t control who sees it on the other end, it’s best to avoid sharing confidential information that could lead to any type of security breach.
- Use the appropriate content.
Using proper grammar, spelling and punctuation and structuring it like any other business letter you’ve sent is a great start. But don’t forget to avoid jokes, sarcasm, jargon, abbreviations and any other sensitive content. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable sending the same email to someone like your accountant or any other business partners, you probably shouldn’t be sending it to a customer.
- Write clearly and concisely.
Don’t use five words where one word would be fine … just keep it simple. Address the customer’s or employee’s concerns and answer their questions, but don’t go on and on. No one wants to spend more time than necessary reading their email so always keep your messages brief but still informative.