You want to provide exceptional customer service with every form of communication. Many people fall short on these most common email etiquette rules and in doing so, they lose business.

You might even think you know all this already. However, recently I had a horrible customer service experience from a business person who is responsible for selling sponsorships and exhibit tables at a business expo. She was guilty of nearly every rule below! Worse yet, she never offered an apology when I pointed out my frustration to her. She just blew me off. I was requesting to be a sponsor at her event. Her customer service was some of the worst service I have received in a long time. The story continues, as someone I know who did sign up for this event, got an email from her stating that to accommodate more people at the event, they were changing the date of the event. The email did not offer how to get a refund if you could not make the new date and the new event day was not even rescheduled for the same day of the week. This is terrible customer service and yet, this person has a prominent position in a Denver organization.

Email etiquette:

1. Have a greeting to your email. Believe it or not, many people do not use a polite greeting to an email. An absence of a greeting is impersonal and can make the tone of the email short and curt.

2. Have a sign off and signature. This is often missed and can also send a curt tone to the email. Your signature should also include your phone number to make it easy on your customer to call if needed.

3. Have a relevant subject line. Don't put "Question" in the subject line, rather briefly write what the question is. Worse yet, don't leave your subject line empty. And, still worse yet, don't use your subject line for your entire email.

4. Answer all the questions posed in the customer's email. Don't answer just the first question, answer all of them

5. Never write in ALL CAPS. In email and text, this conveys shouting.

6. Acknowledge receiving important emails. Even if you cannot answer all the questions in the email immediately, acknowledge the email and let the customer know when you will be able to get them the answers. When someone is sending you a proposal, information you requested, or other important information, be sure to let them know you received it.

7. Proof read your emails for typos and grammatical errors. Use proper capitalization. Not doing so appears lazy and that one does not care.

8. Avoid delivering bad news via email. Sometimes a conversation needs to be documented in writing. Have the conversation person to person first, then send a confirmation email. "Dear so-in-so, thank you for taking time to discuss [the matter]. To confirm we agreed ..."

9. Respond to email the same business day, but never more than 24 hours after the email was received (during regular business hours). Email is just as important as a phone inquiry.

10. If someone sends you an email, requesting information via a phone call, honor them. Recently, I requested information regarding videography services. I indicated I wanted a phone call to discuss. I received an email response answering some of my questions, and telling me it would be $2800. Well, if you cannot honor my request to have a phone conversation, I am not about to hand over $2800 for video production.

Having exceptional email etiquette can make you stand out from the competition, especially when the reality of today is that bad customer service is becoming the norm. At SHE Leads Group, we provide members the opportunity to attend a half-day customer service training workshop. At every SHE Leads Group meeting we offer some form of professional or business development training. Visit a chapter near you where your business category is not already occupied by a member and experience the SHE difference!

About the author

Beth Boen, Founder of SHE Leads Group

Beth Boen has more than 30 years of experience in sales, marketing and customer service. She is an award-winning marketer. She is also a professional trainer and customer experience consultant. Beth loves helping people build long-term, loyal relationships that produce quality connections in their business that lead to lifetime customers and endless referrals. Beth helps people do this through her thoughtful blogs and training curriculum. Members of SHE Leads Group have access to more in-depth business development training through presentations at meetings from Beth, her curriculum, and guest trainers. In addition to being the Founder of SHE Leads Group, Beth has had a training and consulting business, The Voice Customer Experience, that she started in 2005.

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