Seven tips to good email etiquette

In today's working environment email communication is just as common as conducting business face-to-face. Despite this, many people still fail to apply the same level of customer courtesy via email that they would if they were communicating with customers in their store.

Here are 7 tips to improve your online business communication and help ensure you maintain a respectful relationship with your customers.

1. Maintain your professionalism

Even though long and formal emails can often seem impersonal, it's better to be safe when make initial contact with a customer. It can be tempting to throw in an exclamation mark or sign off your email with 'cheers', but it's a good idea to play it safe until you develop a more personal relationship.

2. Check spelling, grammar and punctuation

As a business owner you will send out hundreds of emails every week so it's easy to get slack when it comes to checking the correct spelling and grammar in your email. However, it's important to always remember that your email is not only a representation of what you are communicating, it's also a representation of your brand.

3. Keep it short and simple

Just because your email should be professional doesn't mean you have to ramble. Think about how many emails are circulated daily and then think how much time your recipient has to read a long drawn out message. By keeping it simple you not only make life easier for the recipient, you also improve the chance of your email actually being read.

4. Be careful with tone

It can be challenging to convey the right tone in an email as you don't have the benefit of vocal inflection. Therefore you should always be careful and try to avoid the use of sarcasm as it can easily get lost in translation and offend the recipient as a result.

5. Reply promptly

Just because someone has communicated via email doesn't mean you have the luxury to wait hours or days before providing a response. It's important you treat emails the same way you would a business call or office meeting and reply to them at your earliest possible opportunity.

6. Compress files

When sending an email you should always consider it from your recipient's point of view, especially when it comes to sending attachments. Large file sizes can take a long time to download and have the potential to hold up your recipient's inbox, so limit the size of files you send out.

7. Save important discussions for face to face

Some conversations are better had over the phone or with face-to-face communication. Delicate messages highlighting conflict or criticism should be avoided in email as it is easy for this information to be misconstrued by recipients. Remember, your email can't be unsent, so save the difficult conversations for face-to-face.

There are plenty of ways email efficiency can improve your business operation, check out these articles for more information:

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