Advice for Email Etiquette

I’ve always been one to reply to my emails as quickly as possible, especially when it’s a client that has a question, comment, or issue. I appreciate it when people reply to me promptly, and I try to do the same for people who email me.

The meteoric rise of email as a mode of communication has left most professionals wondering how anyone ever operated without it. Now more than ever, itís crucial that businesses recognize the value of this tool by responding to messages in a timely way. I want to share three ways a simple email reply can make or break a business model, especially when it comes to a business that has clients who need services†immediately.

Constant engagement

Having an email address and failing to use it is the same as opening social media accounts and declining to update them. ďIím not good with emailĒ is an old-fashioned copout thatís long since joined the dinosaurs. Unless a customer receives an error message or out-of-office reply, itís assumed that an email reached its destination. Silence implies lack of engagement, and customers want to feel engaged. Even if you can’t answer the question fully right away, send a quick note to let customers know you’ll get back to them with a full reply soon.

Customer expectations

Not everyone who sends an email has something positive to say, but managing client concerns is a very real part of the day-to-day success of any service-based company. A disgruntled client who receives a quick response feels validated and appreciated, even if her concerns arenít resolved as hoped. A client who receives a slow response only grows more disgruntled, and her dissatisfaction may make its way onto review sites where business-bashing is the norm. In addition, they will likely not only not recommend you, but they may even tell their friends about this bad experience. All of this could be mitigated by replying more quickly.

Records management

Unlike phone calls, emails serve as permanent records of conversations, and theyíve even been used to help incriminate or exonerate people accused of crimes. Prompt email replies demonstrate a companyís willingness to work through an issue, but a lack thereof implies complacency or culpability. You should archive all of your old emails (Gmail does this automatically) to quickly reference past conversations with clients.

Speedy replies are always appreciated by clients, but itís important to remember to reply with politeness and professionalism at all times. A combative or defensive email will live forever, and even a retracted message is seen by someone. Keep these tips in mind for reaching out to customers on their own terms, and use the electronic universe to attract new and repeat business.