Ineffective Email Words & Phrases – Are You Guilty?

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service 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 received. Without hesitation, the top 3 were:

* Poor spelling and grammar – Your, you’re; there, their, they’re; here, hear; to, too, two and the list goes on.

* Email that are too long; too wordy.

* Wrong subject lines that don’t match the body copy.

There were others, but these rose to the top. I’m about to share a few of the phrases used in emails that are not very effective. They are not bad; simply useless and unnecessary (i.e., not needed). When these phrases are eliminated, the emails usually read better; sound stronger.

Here we go:

  1. “Just a note to let you know…”or “Justwanted 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, lame and useless. Eliminate the word JUST in your sentences. Read those sentences without the word “just” and see how much stronger they become.

  1. “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” or “By now you’ve received our proposal.” Email is a time to use your personality. Formal sayings, unless you’re a lawyer (sorry), aren’t normally needed.

  1. “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. Not needed. “Trust me to follow up” is much better.

  1. 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, again, a better phrase would be: “Trust me to follow up to handle your questions.”

  1. Long rambling emails.Not a phrase, but an annoyance.

Salespeople tend to want to give the client all the information. But today we get emails on our iPhone, iPad, and some of us on our watches, and who knows where else. Not too much room for a long email.

  1. Keep your subject line accurate, relevant and interesting.

Topics change within the email? Keep up with the subject line. Make your emails COUNT. Change the body copy? Change the subject line.

Remember, less is more. Long, rambling, wordy emails aren’t normally necessary. And watch your spelling and grammar. Use your personality. Personalize the email. Keep it interesting.

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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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