Email Etiquette when Representing Your Company
When sending emails on behalf of your company, whether you own it, run it or are an employee, you must always keep in mind that it's the company's image that stands to benefit or lose from the way you put that image out to the public. So there are a few helpful dos and don'ts.
Be Polite, Personal and On-Topic
First of all, when answering enquiries via email, always be polite, and try to somewhat personalize the message – by doing so, you will let the recipient understand that their query has actually been read and they're not being sent a standard company email. Be as concise as you can, as the enquiry is usually very specific, so that the person looking for an answer won't have to hunt for it amidst information that is irrelevant to them.
The Time to Sell is NOT All the Time...
If you've been approached by a potential customer, with a precise question, a good idea would be not to pester them with every offer you can throw at them, as they might be put off altogether. Needless to say great care must be taken to ensure their details are confidential and will not be used for other purposes, especially bombarding them with offers in the future, if they decide not to use your services after all.
If your company becomes known for aggressive marketing, it will definitely not help its reputation. As is the case with any kind of email, both the content and email address should remain confidential; the habit some companies have, of exchanging email address lists, is very much frowned upon.
Format Your Email with Care
Formatting is just as important when you want to send a clear message. Using different fonts, colours, the Bold, Italic or Underlined function or writing certain parts in capitals is likely to confuse the recipient, as it gives the impression you want to stress the importance of those particular sentences or phrases. Thus they might think you intended for them to class your statements by importance. It's advisable to use the same font and size, as well as not overemphasize by using capitals, as some consider that to be the written equal of raising your voice.
Don't Sacrifice Grammar, Spelling or Punctuation to Speed
In terms of the time taken to reply, a prompt response, such as within 24 hours, spells efficiency, as well as the fact that customer service is a priority. Before you send it however, be sure to check the spelling and grammar, because if your email is deficient in that regard, your promptitude could be misinterpreted as haste to finish a formal task.
The correct use of punctuation is essential, since a formal email must never resemble a text message, where separating sentences is often disregarded. If a typo could be overlooked, punctuation can completely change the meaning of a phrase as well as its tone. It's best that you keep sentences fairly short, in order to avoid generating confusion and boredom.
You Only Ever Get One Chance to Make a First Impression
And last but not least, as you stand for your company's interests and standards, remember to treat all customers or potential customers equally and especially leave them with the feeling that they've been treated respectfully. At first contact, never underestimate the importance an unknown individual could have for your business in the future.