One of the most effective ways to communicate is via email. Communication via email has become very common among business partners, colleagues and friends. So much so that most people have become overly comfortable communicating with their clients, as if communicating with friends, therefore making them seem unprofessional and missing out on business opportunities.
Being in business or being an entrepreneur involves consistent communication with clients. Each time you communicate with a client is an opportunity to build your image and brand, and hopefully establish a strong business relationship with that client.
It is imperative than when communicating via email, you employ the right etiquette, because if you email clients as if emailing friends there is a chance of losing them. It is therefore important to put utmost care and attention into emails.
Some of the most common etiquette skills are having an email address that is professional, preferably one with your full name or name of the business, use of proper spelling and grammar, and use of proper and respectful language. Apart from these there are other helpful ways to get more clients and keep them through how you communicate in your emails.
Below are other etiquette basics you should consider to grow your business.
1. Find out Clients’ Preferred Means of Communication
Probably because most of your clients prefer communication via email, you may assume it of all your clients. Never assume; be sure to ask the client if they are okay with communicating via email, or if they prefer other means such as phone calls or text messages. If they are okay with communicating through emails, be sure to adhere to their request. Asking clients will elevate client’s perception of you as someone who seeks to make business transactions as smooth as possible.
2. Be Prompt in Responding to Emails
All clients want to feel that they are a priority, so when you receive an email, make sure you reply promptly. You may not have your phone or laptop all the time, but be sure you answer all emails within 24 hours at most. When you do not, questions concerning your professionalism will be raised by the client and this will prove to be a hindrance in establishing strong relationships.
3. Be Brief
Just like any worker or businessperson, there is a high chance your client receives many emails in a day from different people. Even as you send your email, make sure it is brief and that whatever you want to communicate has been said in a small number of sentences - preferably not more than five lines. When you write a long email with the message not coming out properly, this will create confusion and waste the client’s time.
4. Be Cordial
Make sure to open and close your email with friendly forms of greetings. This will help in personalizing your relationship. For example, you can end the email by wishing them a good and fruitful day.
5. Organize Information You are Putting Across
Organize emails in such a way that the information you intend to communicate is brief and easy to understand. By organizing and planning your emails before you send them to clients, you will be able to ensure every message you send is professional. You can organize by:
Clearly indicating who the information is for
When sending an email to the client, ensure the information is really relevant. Do not include people in an email thread with information they do not necessarily have to be a part of. The ‘to’ field in an email indicates the person who the message is directed to and whoever needs to accomplish whatever has been communicated. As opposed to the ‘cc’ field that is meant for the people who are not supposed to do anything concerning the information, only that it is important that they are made aware of what is happening. If you do include many people in the thread, make sure you identify the specific information that is for them.
Having a Subject Line
The subject you give to your email needs to give clear information about what the message is regarding, even before the client gets into the email. If you are communicating about different issues, use different subject lines. This will remove any confusion between yourself and the client. Whatever you communicate will come off more clearly and the client will be able to understand it, which will boost how the client views your professionalism.
Giving all the Necessary Information
For the message to come across clearly, you can opt to prioritize the message. Start by giving the specifics, followed by the general information you think the client should know about. To help achieve this, ask yourself some questions you think the client will want answered and write down the information. You will come off as being mindful of the client’s time. When responding to emails, make sure all the questions have been answered; do not make a client send you an email two or three times seeking clarification.
Indicating action to be taken
Indicate what you want your client to do with the information you have given them. For example, if you are a designer and you send different designs to the client, ask them to choose one or two they like best. The client will know what is expected of them; this will help establish prompt communication and avoid unnecessary confusion.
If you are having trouble writing emails that are concise, clear and professional, you can outsource the task to freelancers at freelancer.com.
6. Protect Client’s Privacy
In the time you will spend working with a client, there will be business information shared between the two of you. Make sure that whatever information you share is private and confidential. Never pass on client’s contacts, attachments, or messages without their consent. Even when you have consent to share the information, make sure the third party will also protect the client’s privacy. If not, you risk breaking the established trust between yourself and your client, and without trust there will be no business relationship.
7. Do not Use Short Forms
When responding or writing emails, avoid using short forms such as ‘coz’ instead of ‘because’. Remember you are writing a business email. Use of emoticons is also not acceptable. Small things such as these will make you look unprofessional.
If you are including attachments to the email, make sure you mention you have added an attachment. Also give a prior warning if the attachments are large. Give the attachments names that directly show the information that is contained in each one.
9. Proofread Email
Go through the email you have drafted before sending it. This is the best way to ensure you have not made any mistakes. You don’t want to be sending two emails because you forgot to add an attachment on the first one - it will create an impression of carelessness. To be extra cautious, you can send the email to yourself first and read it through. You should only send it to the client when you have proofread and corrected the mistakes.
These instructions may seem long, but how you write an email goes a long way toward establishing a long-term business relationship and even, to some extent, personal relationship with the client. An email is an expression of who you are and how you handle your business, so strive to impress even in how you communicate.
Have you gained new insights from this article? If you have, do not forget to share it with your contacts and leave any comments in the comments section below.