A recent Perkbox Insights survey reveals 73% of businesses say email is their preferred method of communication in the workplace. However, the survey also says you should avoid using Clichés as well as annoying words and phrases in your email.
Considering business email is an integral part of daily communications in the workforce, it is important to follow some rules. This is because it includes communication with customers (new and old); suppliers, partners and literally anyone you do business with. And it is important to note, email is still popular with new technologies.
Despite the rise of video calling, video conferencing and other forms of communication, email is still the preferred choice. Coming in a close second is face to face meeting with half of the 1,928 people surveyed saying they favored the traditional human interaction. A distant third is a phone. Surprisingly, only 16% say instant messaging does it for them.
In today’s business world 1 in 5 people spends between 1 to 2 hours rifling through their inbox. Another 16 % say they spend 2 to 3 hours going through emails, while 15% spend an excess of 5 hours checking and sending emails each day.
It is also worth noting, checking emails is not restricted to working hours only. Some 31% check their emails outside work every few hours while 8% of them do it constantly. Whether prospecting a new client or following through on an order, email is still the choice for business communications.
And this is why you have to make sure your emails don’t annoy recipients. Perkbox’s survey has identified some dos and don’ts to help you avoid email faux pas. Below are some of them.
Keep it Brief
The recipient of your email is not looking for your prose acumen. He or she is most probably busy and wants to know what you want right away. A clear and unambiguous subject line in your e-mail is a good start.
Go straight to the issue, beating around the bush can irritate them. Some 29% of respondents say they can’t tolerate long emails. The point here is to make your requests and information clear and concise, but with enough information so that your recipient understands what your message indicates.
Know your Openings and Closing
A standard business email should start with ‘Hi’ (49%). Other accepted openings include good morning/ afternoon (48%); hello (21%); and dear (20%). Those that received reviews include love (57%); no sign off (44%); warmly (31%); cheers (26%); and yours truly (24%).
Acceptable endings can include ‘kind regards’ (69%); thanks/thanks again (46%); regards (31%); thanks in advance (21%); and best wishes (20%)
The problem of defaulting into using everyday phrases or words is that these phrases have been overused to the extent that they have lost all their effectiveness. These contribute nothing to the conversation; at best the recipient will view it as just stuffing in the email.
They could also make you appear unimaginative and simply using templates. Avoid tired terms such a ‘to whom it may concern’; ‘just looping in…’ (37%); ‘as per my last email’ (33%); ‘any update on this’ (24%) at all costs.
Keep it Professional
Correct spelling, punctuation and grammar project competence so maintain these standards. Make sure you get the name of the person right and please do make sure you spell the individual’s name correctly. Nothing spells a lack of care or focus than misspelling your prospect’s name or the company in question.
Another thing you should avoid is CCing people who don’t need to be involved (63%), the use of slang (53%), not having an email signature (23%), and using colored fonts (21%). Also avoid being too familiar such as ‘hey’, ‘love’, ‘kisses’ or emojis, you are not writing this to your bestie, so keep it professional.
On the use of the exclamation mark, 16% of the respondents say it unacceptable while 48% will tolerate only one. Don’t go crazy with the Caps lock, 67 % of the respondents say that they can’t tolerate it.
Why Email Etiquette is so Important
Email etiquette is all about conveying respect and common sense to your intended recipient. Improper spelling, grammar, familiarity and punctuation can project a bad impression of yourself and the company. It can also convey a lack of respect and consideration on your part towards your recipient.
You only have one shot because there’s no possibility of corrective feedback from the customer once you click on the send button. Your email could be the first impression you give out, as such you do not want carelessness or lack of professionalism to be their first impression of you. Fixing that impression, if at all, when you get a second change could take a long time to repair depending on how bad the mistake was.
Your email etiquette is an extension of your work etiquette. A lack of focus, lack of professionalism, and carelessness in an email could signal the same traits in your business for the recipient. You can use business emails to achieve any objective from selling anything to promoting your business by improving your email game.