Archives for posts with tag: email

Businesswoman pulling suitcase

By definition, communication is the exchange of information. Countless books and articles have been written addressing how to better understand and communicate with your customers, but these same tips are just as helpful when it comes to internal communication with your coworkers. Here are a few tips and tricks to transform your interactions, both inside and outside the office, and separate yourself from the competition.

Make your presence meaningful:
Add value to every interaction. Make sure you are making the most of your team member’s or your customer’s time and be mindful of how you can help them work better. Do you have success stories to share? Is there an upcoming training or webinar you could attend or promote to your stakeholders? Thoughtful, detailed, and honorable service is something that cannot be bought.

Be an active listener:
When your teammate or customer is speaking — are you listening or piecing together your response? Stop, digest the information, and ask questions. Especially when it comes to working with customers, their success is your success, so expressing a sincere interest will go a long way to strengthening important sales relationships.

Think before you speak:
Once you have digested the speaker’s needs, be sure to think before you respond. It’s okay not to have all of the answers, but it’s not okay to tell people only what they want to hear. Good service is exponentially more valuable than fast service.

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” Benjamin Franklin

Be mindful of email etiquette:
Email etiquette is simple. Whenever possible, address people by name (spelled correctly, of course!). Respond promptly, even when you can’t provide a detailed response – it’s okay to say so and seek out a subject matter expert who can assist.

Deliver more than expected:
Following these prompts should create a deeper connection with both your teammates and your customers – go the extra mile to make it personal. Give more than expected by tailoring the sales experience, being mindful of how you can help those you work with, and always following up after a project has closed. Customers and coworkers want to be understood – be the person that gets them!

How do you bring the ‘wow factor’ in your office?

As I sat here overwhelmed by my overflowing inbox (as I’m sure yours is as well) thinking there’s no way I could ever catch up on all of my e-mails, I knew there had to be a better way! So, after some research and conversations with my coworkers, I came up with 6 great tools and tips for keeping your inbox clean, organized, and current!

Categorize
I often get caught up reading through my messages in the order they arrive, but this can be pretty inefficient. When you take this approach, critical messages can go unnoticed and then you end up kicking yourself for spending so much time on low-priority items. Instead, try categorizing your e-mails by project. Categories can be a great way to visualize the priority level for each item. Red = critical, orange = high, yellow = medium, and green = low. Simple!

Prioritize Contacts

  1. On your iPhone, you have the ability to label certain contacts as “Favorites.” Any e-mail from a “Favorite” contact will go directly to your lock and home screen. This way, you will always stay on top of important e-mails from important people (such as your manager)!
  2. In Outlook, you can set up alerts to notify you when you receive an e-mail from specified contacts. Alternatively, you can use the Organize tool to color code any messages from a specific contact. This makes it really easy to take a quick glance at your inbox and see which e-mails are from certain important contacts.

Auto-Preview
This simple view offers a bite-size view of the mile long e-mail to come. Usually, a quick skim of an e-mail can tell you if there is any immediate action required. Auto-preview is my favorite way to skim through my e-mails early in the morning before the double shot café Americano kicks in.

Personal folders
Personal folders are another great way to organize e-mails by project. I personally reference old e-mails regularly, and, as the IT department keeps reminding me, “an inbox is not a file management program”. So, personal folders it is! When moving e-mails to personal folders, your e-mail moves from the server to your own computer. What a great way to save important information while also keeping IT happy!

Flags
Flags are helpful when organizing a to-do list. Outlook allows you to flag e-mails to indicate high-priority requests. The built-in  to-do list tool lists your tasks and the view can be altered in many different ways. There are a number of different flags with various follow up dates, but I like to keep it simple with just these two flags:

  1. “Today” – These are items that need a response before the end of the day.
  2. “No Date” – These are items that need a follow-up with no specified date.

Delete it
Raise your hand if you still have e-mails from 2010! *raises hand* It’s like cleaning out your closet. You talk yourself into thinking you might wear those vertical striped flare pants one day, but we all hope you won’t. Toss those old e-mails (and those pants).

Easy, right?! These tools are simple to use and can be implemented into your routine today! So, how do we keep up when there is no good time to check e-mail? That is another blog post for another day. Happy organizing!

What is your favorite e-mail organization tip?

 

Email

An informative subject line

Use ultra-specific verbiage within the email’s subject line to spark interest and encourage the recipient to prioritize the email.

  • This will help confirm that the message is not spam or junk mail.

A personal salutation

Depending on the nature of the business relationship, address the recipient by their first name and/or their last name with an honorific.

  • An honorific may always be included, but is most appropriate in situations of initial contact (Dr., Mr., Mrs., or Ms.).

A sensible structure

Format your email in successive paragraphs to achieve an organized, professional structure and smooth the flow of information.

  • First paragraph:
    • If you are replying to an email from the recipient, thank them for their email
    • Introduce yourself if necessary
    • Provide a brief overview of the purpose of the email
  • Main body:
    • Give thorough yet concise instruction or information
    • Be aware of the recipient’s level of understanding and tailor the content accordingly

The appropriate tone

  • Keep the phrase “It’s not what you say, but how you say it” in mind when composing emails to customers.
    • If delivering not-so-great news, consider first explaining what unfortunately cannot be done, but what can be done instead.
    • Offering an alternative in place of a “No” will better reflect your organization’s high regard for customer satisfaction.

A professional closing

  • Choose a closing depending on the type of business relationship held with the recipient.
    • Some examples are “Sincerely”, “Regards”, or simply, “Thank you” if you have requested something in the email that warrants a response.
  • Follow your closing line with your first and last name, your title, and any appropriate contact information.

Things to avoid:

  •  ALL CAPS
  • Inconsistent font style or text color
  • Excessive exclamation points
  • Negative or inappropriate language
  • Internal jargon
  • Anything you would not want to become public

What other email etiquette tips can you share?

Email-Marketing

Considering how long email has played a role in our lives, it’s easy to assume we know how to use it effectively. However, good email etiquette is something that will never go out of style. Here are a few things to consider when drafting your next professional email:

1. Write an Appropriate Subject Line

Although this is viewed by some as not being an essential part of an email, it’s important that the subject clearly identifies the point of the email in just a few words. A good subject line leaves no mystery for the recipients to guess what the email is about, and helps later if you need to search your inbox for it.

 2. Start with a Proper Greeting

Just like writing a letter, it’s polite to add a greeting or salutation to the start of every email. It’s good practice to address someone by name in the greeting, but whether it’s the first or last name depends on the subject and formality of the email. For example, “Hi Jim” would work fine for an email sent between co-workers, but “Dear Mr. Smith” would be more appropriate for a formal email such as writing to a prospective employer.

 3. Write with a Respectful Tone

With the use of emoticons on the rise, it’s easy to want to slip these in an email and type the exact way we speak. However, be conscious of the recipient(s) of the email with the understanding that it could get forwarded on to individuals that it wasn’t originally intended for. Being polite and professional always reflects well on yourself and your company.

 4. Get Straight to the Point and Keep it Short

The reason for the email should be addressed at the start. Studies show that you’re more likely to get a timely response if the purpose is called out at the beginning. However, the point can be lost if there are multiple paragraphs to follow, as a large amount of text can be overwhelming to take in. If it’s necessary to address a number of things in one email, bullet points are easier to read and ensure that none of your points get lost or overlooked.

 5. Proof Read and Use Spell Check

Writing an email can feel like a small accomplishment that you want to send right away, but it’s important to proof read and run spell check before clicking the send button. A typo or spelling mistake can turn one word into a completely different one, and could even be a little embarrassing when done in a professional capacity. Click the spell check button that appears on the email template, but be sure to proof read to catch anything that spell check didn’t catch.

What are examples of good email etiquette that you have used recently?

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