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Six Keys to Business E-Mail Etiquette

E-mail has revolutionized the business world, making it possible to quickly and easily share correspondence, information, files, images and more with both customers and prospects. However, although e-mail can be a terrific communication tool, problems and misunderstandings can occur when it is used poorly. Keep in mind that every message sent is a reflection on your company, and make sure that everyone in your organization is familiar with these 6 keys to proper e-mail etiquette:

  1. Write meaningful subject lines. The subject line should clearly announce what the e-mail is about. This enables the recipient to distinguish important messages from spam, and also makes it easy to find the message in your history file later.

  2. Be polite. The informality of e-mail often causes people to forget their manners. Use “please” and “thank you,” avoid using all capital letters (the e-mail equivalent of screaming), and don’t write anything that you might later regret.

  3. Reply promptly. Remember that every in-bound message from a customer or prospect is a chance to demonstrate the high level of customer service that your organization provides. Reply to each request as quickly as possible.

  4. Include a copy of previous e-mails. Few people can remember every communication they have had. Including the entire message stream makes it easy for the recipient to quickly refresh their memory.

  5. Use standard English. Incorrect spelling, grammar and punctuation not only give a bad impression, but can also change the meaning of your message. Turn on the spell check function and before you hit the “send” button re-read your text to be sure it is error-free.

  6. Pay attention to formatting. Make it easy for your recipient to read your message. Use short paragraphs separated by blank lines, left justify your text, use bullet points, and so forth.

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