Email has made the process of day-to-day client communication much easier than the olden days of mailings and phone calls. But many people don't realise that they may be irritating or alienating their clients simply by using poor email etiquette or tactics. Here are a dozen things you should never do when sending client emails.
Ignore responses. You remember how hard it was to attract those clients in the first place? The easiest way to lose them is to fail to respond to their email. So write a reply even if it's just a quick acknowledgement that you got their message.
Lead with, ‘Hey’. The client is (usually) not your longtime buddy. Even good clients need to be treated with respect. That begins with starting an email message with their name.
Send a message with ‘Sent from my...’ News flash: That ‘signoff’ can be turned off in your mobile device settings. Sure, you'll probably have to respond to some client emails when you're out of the office but you don't have to tell them that. They may feel like you don't value them enough to send a standard email.
Hit ‘Reply All’. A cardinal sin of emailing. If a client responds to an email marketing message, it's bad form to tell the whole world about it. Plus, it's simply annoying.
Fail to use the BCC field. Many clients view email addresses as sensitive information so the last thing you want is to send a mass email proudly displaying everyone's email address to all recipients. Helpful hint: Send the message to yourself and put all of the recipients' addresses in the blind carbon copy field.
Provide a vague subject (or none at all). Not only is it aggravating to receive an unsolicited email with a subject line that provides no information about the message but clients are likely to treat it as spam and delete it and then move your email address into their spam folder.
Fail to edit and/or spell-check messages. A grammar or spelling error once in a blue moon isn't fatal. But sending an email with multiple errors tells the client that you don't take the time to address details. Is that how you want your client to think of you?
Overuse VERY HIGH PRIORITY or similarly attention-grabbing phrases. Again, this practice registers high on the irritation scale. But as a practical matter, it gives you a reputation of always "crying wolf", which diminishes the importance of all of your email messages.
Forward private messages. If you forward an email you received from one client on to a different client, even if the content is innocuous, it sends the message that you don't value privacy and/or you like to talk about others behind their back. And then they begin wondering if you forward their private emails to other random people.
Use tiny fonts. Incredibly infuriating. Many people don't have perfect vision. Learn to use the font size tool, for goodness sake.
Use inappropriate automated responses. ‘Out of Office’ notifications are fine. "I'll get back to you when I'm not busy" messages are not. Everybody is busy but the client took the time to send you an email. Why can't you do the same?
Use signatures that are lengthy/superfluous/cutesy/standardised. Your name, company, and contact info should usually suffice. Clever quotes or philosophies can be a turnoff. Extensive disclaimers are exasperating. And responding to a confrontational or angry email with a "Cheers!" or "Have a great day!" is sure to anger the message recipient.
About the author
Chris Martin is a freelance writer who writes about topics ranging from information technology to consumer finance to home improvement.