Email Frustrations You May Be Making

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training

We now know email has surpassed voice mail in communications.

Not answering emails is, of course, a big frustration. However, we’ve found a bunch of the public’s frustrations on email that’s easier to fix than finding a way to get them to return emails. One of the frustrations may be the reason why you didn’t get an answer.

Are you guilty??????

  1. Messages that are too long – As in voice mail, we know that the more succinct the message, the better it’s received. And now, where we can all get our emails not only on our office computers, but on our phones and our iPads, (and OMG now our watches), it’s critically important for our emails to be short, sweet and to the point. Long messages get zapped just as long voice mails used to.

Suggestion: If/when there is a long email to send, mention that right in the subject line. This way the recipient A) knows it in advance and B) can save it for when he has time. And consider an attachment.

  1. Poor spelling and bad grammar – Inexcusable! And, the wrong use of words. Dare we go into your/you’re or there/their/they’re? And to/too and two; it’s and its or hear and here? Spell check will help the spelling; however, it will not catch the wrong tense. Only you can do that.

Most of your clients are well bred, and receiving an email (or letter) with poor English will detract from the message. Tsk-tsk. Surely one word misspelled or wrong word may not kill the deal. But several could.

Suggestion: Use your spell check and when in doubt – leave it out! Or use another word. Don’t take a chance of looking stupid.

  1. Wrong subject line – If you reuse part of an email subject/topic and the topic in the body of the message changes, change the subject line.

This drives most folks nutty. And it’s also good for locating a message when you need it. Wrong subject lines are a waste of time to the person receiving the email. And in some cases, will hurt the entire email

Suggestion: Take the little bit of extra time it takes to correct the subject line to match the message when it changes. Double check it to be sure you have it correct.

  1. ALL CAPS – Some folks think these should never be used. I disagree with this partially because there are times when ALL CAPS is ok. Such as:


Then go back to your normal font. Telling someone they did a great job can also be in all caps as well.


Or even telling someone you love them is OK to use caps. And certainly, a


would be OK in all caps. What we don’t want is to send an entire email in all caps.

Suggestion: Use caps cautiously, carefully and kindly.

  1. Not using names – Names are key and most people like their name. And they like it spelled right.

Saying Dear Nancy or Hi Nancy prior to the message is much better than just starting the email out with no name. And FYI, a plain “Hi,” while better than nothing, it isn’t very effective.

When we see our clients or friends in person we normally say, “Hello Bob” or “Hi Judy.” So, remember – – – – use their name in your salutation.

Suggestion: Double check every email before you hit send to be sure names are used and are correctly spelled. Misspelled names are a surefire “no, no.” They’ll spend more time about their name being misspelled than reading the email.

Also, starting with : “Hope you’re doing well” is a dead giveaway for a reason NOT to read the email.

  1. Use short paragraphs – Or BULLET POINTS When sending out information. It’s much better to use bullets or numbers rather than make long paragraphs. Remember, emails get to our phone and it’s no fun to get a looooong email on a cell phone. Shorten it up.

Suggestion: Make your email visually interesting.

BONUS tips we all need:

*    Beware of FORWARDING messages and sending old information that may not be appropriate now.

*    Beware of sending the wrong email to the wrong person. Or hitting ‘Reply to All’ when we shouldn’t have done that. Gulp, gulp. Not fun! And yes, I’ve done it. Why? Because I didn’t take the time to double check. It’s that simple.

*    Beware of tone of voice, no emotion, no smiling messages; it’s so very important to use effective words. A quick ICON of a happy face can make a big difference. But beware; happy face icons often come out printed as “J” ?? Just saying…..

*    Beware of weak, wimpy words in your emails. What are some weak, wimpy words? Here . . . which sounds better to you?

Hi Nancy. Just a note to let you know we received the lovely gift.


Hi Nancy. A special note to let you know we received the lovely gift.

There are more. And until next time, thanks for reading.


Please share. Help others.


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Nancy Friedman, customer service keynote speaker, is president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training and a featured speaker at franchise, association, and corporate meetings around the world. A popular TV guest, she appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning, as well as hundreds of other radio, television and print outlets around the world, including the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. The author of 9 books on her chosen topics, Nancy helps corporate America improve their communications with their customers & co-workers. You can see her 9 books here. For more information, log on to Nancy Friedman's website or call (314) 291-1012. Oh yeah you can email her at Nancy is a recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame Award - St. Louis Small Business Monthly

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