Sending Better Emails to Customers

Last week we asked NARI members what method was used most often to talk to clients, and 66 percent responded it was email.

Did you know that the average person receives 72 emails per day and spends up to 30% of their working day in their inbox. Add in the number of emails going to their personal accounts, and you can appreciate that people have less time to really read email messages.

As essential as email is to communicating, many of us could it better.  Here are some best practices regarding sending better emails:

  1. Keep it as short as possible and put all the key info up front. Never put a request or invitation at the end of a note. No one reads the last line of your email.
  2. Don’t put something in an email that you can’t afford it to be forwarded along thoughtlessly. Be care about sharing sensitive information about your clients or the job site to people who weren’t meant to see it.
  3. Respect the conversation, and who’s meant to be a part of it. Let the other side know if you’re adding others to the chain.
  4. Break up those paragraphs. As noted, shorter is better. But if you find a long note is necessary, break it up into paragraphs with spaces.
  5. Temporize. If you can’t immediately send back all the info that a person wants, or confirm an appointment, shoot back a note acknowledging that you got the message. “Got your message, thanks, will check and get back to you” is a courtesy most people appreciate.
  6. Make sure your attachments are attached. Be aware that your company logo, Facebook, and Twitter symbols in your email signature can show up as an attachment, making it hard for the recipient to find the real attachment.
  7. Crop and compress photo attachments that are larger than they need to be.
  8. Don’t use email as a way to avoid difficult conversations. Emails can be misunderstood. If there is a potential problem, handle it face-to-face or over the phone.
  9. If you need a response or call to action, make it clear and give a deadline. If your message is unclear, the other person may close your message without responding.
  10. If you only check your emails once a day, let people know of other ways to contact you. Let your clients know of alternative ways of getting info to you or from you quickly. It also can help them feel reassured that you received the message, even if you haven’t immediately replied.

The reality is you can’t escape email. But with a little thought, you can manage it and make it pay off for your business. Do you have any additional email tips? If so, email them to marketing@nari.org.-Susan Swartz

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