There is one thing that I think is critical to the best customer service, and that’s communication! Clients want to feel like they’re being heard, that you’re working hard on their project, and that you are being an effective steward of their money. The best way to let them know that is to tell them exactly how things are going.
My team and I send weekly emails to all of our clients to keep them up to date on every detail of their project. We want them to know that we really care about them and that we want to deliver the best result possible for them, every single time. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that there are great emails, and then there are emails that can cause communication to break down. So here are my top do’s and don’ts for getting the very most out of your emails:
1. DON’T write too much. People do not have time to read a novel via email, so tell them everything they need to know, but keep it concise and to the point.
2. DO get to the point quickly. Put the most important info at the top – it’s human nature to stop reading after a paragraph or two. People notoriously now have shorter attention spans than a goldfish (it’s true!), so be sure that you let them know the most critical things quickly.
3. DO use proper grammar. It matters – it really does. So be sure everything is spelled correctly, that you’re using appropriate language, and that your email has a greeting, full sentences, and a conclusion.
4. DON’T get cute. Do not – and I mean don’t ever – use emoticons, funny fonts, garish colors, or any other “cutesy” items in your emails. You are a professional businessperson and there is just no place for all that in a business email. Also be careful with abbreviations.
5. DO reread before you hit send. Be sure you slow down and read the email several times before you hit send. Is it clear? Is it spelled correctly? Does it make the points you need it to?
6. DON’T cut corners. Email is notorious for creating misunderstandings, so be very careful about being abrupt or too terse. That can be perceived as being angry or irritated.
7. DON’T deliver bad news. If something has gone haywire or off the rails, don’t use email as a crutch. That type of news should be delivered via phone, no matter how hard that can be. It’s unprofessional to use email for difficult conversations. And please don’t fire off an email when you’re mad – stop and let it simmer for a while before you hit send.
8. DO keep a record. If you are having important conversations on the phone or via text with a client, it’s equally important to have a record of that conversation. Use email to recap any points or decisions made on the phone. People can remember things differently, so it’s good to be sure everyone is on the same page.
9. DON’T send email after email after email. If you haven’t heard from a client after sending an email that needs a reply, you can send one more reminder email. But don’t annoy them by sending a flurry of emails one after the other. That’s the time to pick up the phone.
10. DO reply. There’s nothing more irritating to a client than to send an email and hear crickets from you. They will fill that silence with all sorts of ideas, and I can promise you they won’t reflect well on you. Reply as soon as you can, and certainly within 24 hours. If you’re out of the office, have someone else on hand to take care of replying to your clients.
Hopefully these tips will help you be a fantastic email communicator! Let me know what you think in the comments section below!