By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service, Communication Expert, President Telephone Doctor, Customer Service Training
We did a survey a while back at one of my speaking engagements. I wanted to know what really bugged folks about emails they receive. We got a lot of good frustrations, but the top 3 were:
* Poor spelling and grammar (Your, you’re; there, their; here, hear; to, too, two; and many more)
* Emails that ramble and are too long
* Wrong subject lines
Let’s take them one by one
- Poor spelling & grammar – Use the old saying “when in doubt, leave it out.” If you’re not sure it’s right – don’t use it. Simple. There are always alternatives. Use those.
- Emails that are too long – Two to three short paragraphs are perfect. Or if you have a lot of info, use an attachment. Remember, people are getting emails on iPad, iPhone, and even their iWatch. Long rambling emails are deleted or left for later a lot.
- Wrong subject lines – Yes, not changing the subject line when the information in the email changed from one topic to another was a large irritant.
There were many more, but these 3 rose to the top.
Now I’m about to share some ineffective phrases used in emails. They are not bad; simply useless and unnecessary (i.e., not needed. Get it?) When these phrases are eliminated, the emails usually are stronger and read better.
Here we go:
- “Just a note to let you know…” or “Just wanted to say…” or “I’m just checking back to see where we are on the order.” JUST is a weak, wimpy, word. Not necessary. In fact, pretty lame and useless. Eliminate the word JUST in your sentences. Read those sentences without the word “just” and see how much stronger they become.
- “As I (or you) mentioned on the phone” or “Pursuant to our call (conversation, whatever).” Double work, not needed, not necessary. Confirm the statement instead with: “Glad you liked the proposal” or “Enjoyed our call” or “Here’s a handy recap of our call” or “Good call and excited we can make ‘X’ happen.” Email is a time to use your personality. Formal sayings, unless you’re a lawyer (sorry), aren’t normally needed.
- “Please let me know if you have any questions.” You gotta be kidding me! Hard to believe folks still use this, but they do. Most folks will let you know if they have questions. That’s a real junior statement.
- “If there’s anything else I can do please let me know.” This one goes with #3. Seriously? That’s a real ‘get rid’ of line. It’s normally OUR responsibility to follow up. So a better phrase would be: “Trust me to follow up to handle your questions.”
- “Thank you for supporting us” or “Thank you for your support.” I admit, I used this one for a while until I realized, “Thank you for your order” or “Thank you for your business” or “Thank you for being a loyal, valuable client” was more effective.
There are more, but in keeping with shorter emails…stopping here.
Thanks for reading and please forward and share to others.
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