Do you have email etiquette guidelines for yourself?
I like to think that I am pretty good when it comes to matters concerning customer service, colleague care or email etiquette for that matter.
But that is not, so it seems, what one particular client of mine thinks! This very professional, warm and rather assertive person, I will call her Marianna in this case, gave me a bit of feedback in regards to emails.
She pointed out that the email she had sent five days earlier requesting some information from me remained unanswered. I confessed that I was waiting for information from a colleague who was on holiday to provide that answer and that I would know the next day.
During the conversation it became clear that she and I were at the centre of a chain of communication.
My silence had left all those at her end of the chain in the dark, and possibly with the impression that she did not have a grip on the project. Meanwhile, she thought that I was overloaded, too busy or too disorganised to respond more promptly.
In Marianna’s words I was very disappointed as I expected a far slicker service from you.
I’ve written a set of email guidelines for myself:
- If I am away from my emails for more than 4 hours during work days I will use ‘out of office’.
- When in the office I will respond (or at least acknowledge) emails at 13.00 and 17.30 at the latest each day. Religiously
- I will ensure I have a full up to date signature strip with contact details.
- I will put a read receipt request when I need to know that they have got my mail
- I will ‘reply to all’ as a general rule but not without first thinking whether all recipients need yet another email from me!
- I will not be a slave to my desire to be short and to the point that may be perceived as curt.
- I will get someone else to check my emails or I will use audio software https://www.naturalreaders.com/download.php to make sure I don’t miss errors.
- If I can add something amusing or of value for the recipient to an email I will. (There’s the challenge.)
Now I am putting it all into practice, and if you have any more email etiquette ideas to add to the list, just let me know and you can expect a same day
Thank You from me!