This article serves as a guide to writing high quality and professional emails. You will see a standard email structure here, including examples of both good emails and unacceptable ones.
When communicating with a customer in written form, it is important that you remain as professional and well-conducted as you would be over the phone, and to understand the standard principles of how to do so.
What Makes a Professional Email?
Be clear about what you are trying to say
You must know and understand the purpose of the email you are about to send to your customer. If you don’t understand what you are talking about, how will the recipient understand?
Stick to one Topic per Email
Less is definitely more when it comes to emails. Practising the ‘one thing’ rule is a good idea when offering customer service in an email. Make each email you send about one thing only. If you need to communicate about another issue, keep it separate to avoid confusion or miscommunication.
Sometimes, you may find that a customer will respond to an existing email chain with a completely separate query or issue. If this happens, reply in the same chain explaining that you are going to respond to their query in a separate email to avoid any confusion between the contacts.
Think about your words and the issue they relate to from the customer’s point of view. With everything that you write, ask yourself:
- How would I interpret this?
- How would this make me feel?
- As a customer, how would I want this issue to be dealt with?
Not only will thinking about how the customer will receive your email affect how well they understand what you are trying to communicate, but it will also influence the way they respond to you.
Keep Introductions Brief
You need to introduce yourself if you are sending the first email in a thread, but keep it short. For example, a follow-up email after a demo might begin with:
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today, it was lovely speaking with you.”
Refrain from Using ‘Text Talk’
Even if the customer includes these in their writing, never use ‘text talk’ or emojis in your emails.
Write how you Speak
This helps to reflect who you are in the real world. Your customers want to feel like they are talking to a real and relatable person, after all. If you wouldn’t usually include long and fancy-sounding words in your vocabulary, then don’t include them in your emails.
Where Possible, Refrain from Using Word Contractions
Shortening words can come across as lazy and messy. While you should write the way you speak, try saying ‘do not’, ‘will not’ or ‘cannot’ rather than ‘don’t’, ‘won’t’ or can’t’.
Proofread Before you Send!
This part is integral. Read your emails back to yourself. Does it make sense? Are there any spelling or grammatical errors? Make sure you are completely happy with your content before hitting ‘send’.
Stick to Standard Structure
Not only does sticking to standard structure aid you in writing the best email you can, but it also allows us to remain consistent throughout the company, meaning that no matter who sends an email, but they will also all look relatively similar.
On top of making your emails look good, this will help you to write faster without having to constantly keep stopping to check what you have already said.
Over time, you will fall into a natural flow of how you best structure your emails, but for now, here is a simple structure to get you started:
- Compliment or pleasantry
- Reason for your email
- Call to action
- Closing message
I hope you are well.
I am writing to you further to our telephone conversation this morning.
I am pleased to inform you that we have now released a fix for the issue you were experiencing with <enter problem>.
If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Always try to use short words, sentences and paragraphs. This shows respect to the customer by demonstrating that you have put in the time to put your message as simple to understand and action as possible.
Example Emails (Good and Bad!)
Below you can see a poor example of an email that was sent to a customer:
You will notice that the general structure of this email is below standard. It comes across as abrupt, and would not make the reader feel as though they are being looked after.
There are also many spelling and grammatical errors, which makes the email and the sender (as well as the company!) sound very unprofessional.
Next is an example of a well-written email:
You will notice that this email is very clearly written, making sure that the information provided to the customer is concise and easy to understand.
It is also complimentary and allows the customer to feel that they are able to approach the sender for more help if it is needed.
Keep in mind that writing high-quality emails is an integral part of maintaining a good image for the company and a high level of customer satisfaction.
If you are ever unsure about how to word something, ask for a second opinion. Likewise, if you are unsure whether your email makes sense, ask someone else to read it first.