Guidelines for Composing Business Emails
Subject line: Guidelines for Composing Business Emails
Josh has become concerned that our customers and vendors are occasionally receiving emails that do not properly represent the company, and give recipients an unprofessional impression. He has asked me to put together a brief list of guidelines for composing professional emails, especially emails to persons outside the company.
We say that customer satisfaction is, and always will be, our number one priority – and we mean it. That includes communication with our customers and other business partners in a clear, polite, and professional manner.
I know this is a bit long, but please take the time to read it. We can really improve our email communications by following a few simple suggestions.
- Always include a subject line that clearly states the topic of the email.
- Bad: Re: re: re:
- Better: WidgetCo shipment
- Best: WidgetCo order 24761 has shipped; will arrive 7/23
- Begin the email introducing yourself or reminding the recipient who you are, and elaborating on the purpose of the email.
- Bad: See below.
- Better: This is Jeffrey at WidgetCo. Please see the email below.
- Best: Hi, this is Jeffrey from the shipping department at WidgetCo. The email attached below details the reasons for the recent shipping delay.
- Communicate politely and professionally, and in complete sentences. Clipped or terse responses can be interpreted as rude.
- Bad: Done.
- Better: Your order was shipped.
- Best: I was pleased to assemble this order on your behalf. It has now shipped.
- Try to employ correct spelling, grammar, and pronunciation. Incorrect language reflects poorly on the company. Autocorrect can help. Never use ALL CAPS for any reason. Only use professional fonts. Avoid slang. Avoid l33tsp34k (“OMG,” “LOL,” etc.).
- Bad: WHEN IS T HE PRODCUTS GOING 2 GET THEIR???
- Good: When are the products going to get there?
- Best: Could you please let me know when the products are going to arrive?
- Always say “hello” and “goodbye,” whether in a formal email (“Dear Mr. Smith, … Sincerely, Jeffrey Jones”) or a casual one (“Hi Brent… Thanks, Jeff”).
- Don’t automatically choose “Reply All.” See who is included on the email, and remove anyone who does not need to see your reply.
- Make sure your emails always contain the appropriate email signature. Customers and vendors should not have to search for telephone number or other contact information.
- Always reread any email before you send it off. Check for inappropriate tone, mistakes, omissions, etc. And did you remember any attachments? It’s always worth the time to check, because once the email goes out, you can’t call it back.
- Never, ever, EVER send an email when you are angry, frustrated, or upset. Ask a coworker to look over the email, to see if the tone is appropriate. You may have written something inappropriate without even realizing it.
- IMPORTANT: Reply promptly! Our customers and vendors are important to us, and we want them to know this. If you genuinely do not have time to respond appropriately to an email, at least acknowledge receipt of the email, and promise to send a longer response as soon as you can.
Please remember to be professional when communicating with anyone outside the company. Never be curt or rude. And always respond as promptly as you can.
Doing our best to adhere to these guidelines will greatly improve the impression of WidgetCo and of our brands that we convey to the outside world.
If you ever need any help or advice with drafting an important email, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
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