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Why Email Etiquette Matters

Whether in retail or wholesale, there is no question that you will use email to get much of your business done. However, because many of us are very familiar with email and use it in our everyday lives with little thought to grammar, punctuation, proper language and more, business email etiquette has become a  bit “sloppy” as a result. Recognizing this and reacting to it can impact your business, though, and should be considered in an effort to gain more professional respect, efficient response times in your email communication and much more.

Protecting Yourself And Your Business 

The first thing to recognize is that if you have other people working for you and your business, it’s important that they understand what you expect from them in their email communication. By making your guidelines clear for all employees of your company, you can avoid possible problems, including potential liability issues and even lawsuits. While some of the below points may seem clear to you, it is beneficial to make your points known to all your employees.

1. Avoid any comments or language that are racist, sexist, defamatory, offensive or obscene. This includes forwarding anything that includes these details.

2. Keep your language gender neutral.

3. Do not use email to discuss confidential information, such as social security numbers or personal issues that have been identified as such.

4. Use disclaimers on all emails sent both internally and externally that highlight specifics to your company and protects you from possible problems due to unprofessional emails.

Becoming Efficient Through Your Choice Of Words

Time is of essence to everyone these days, so there is no point in wasting anyone’s time – particucarly in the busy world of retail. The goal should be to get to the point in your email communication. But in doing this, you should be polite and clear through your choice of words. A few tips on how to do this include:

1. Be direct and clear with a polite, respectful tone.

2. Answer any questions that have been directed to you with respect and direct questions you may have in a clear, professional matter. Often people get frustrated when they think their time is being wasted answering what they believe should already be known, so you want to avoid giving the impression of “frustration” or “annoyance” in your emails.

3. Use proper paragraph structures and professional layouts  for your reader to easily read through your email. Avoid one, long email that all blends together.

4. Do not write in all capital letters. This gives the impression you are screaming. In addition, do not write in all lower case letters. This gives the impression you are lazy.

5. Read and edit your email prior to hitting send. It’s amazing what reading it can often point out to you. Take the time to make necessary changes.

6. Avoid abbreviations even if you think they are obvious. What is obvious to you may not be to someone else.

7. Do not request delivery and read receipts. This takes time away from your audience since they likely have to approve this request. In addition, it’s often perceived as annoying and not necessary in most situations.

8. Don’t forget to include a concise, meaningful subject in your subject line. It should identify what the email is about without being too long in length.

Be Professional And Get Treated Professionally

Fingers get pointed whether we like it or not. He said, she  said is unfortunately part of most businesses, so make sure that what he or she is saying about you is not that you are unprofessional. A few additional points can help portray your business as the professional leaders you want to be.

1. Always respond quickly to emails. Don’t let emails sit in your in-box without at least a short, efficient and professional reply to the sender notifying them of when you can get back to them with additional emails. This puts your audience at peace for a bit and allows you to gain professional respect along the way.

2. Do not overuse the high priority option unless you truly, 110% believe your email is of high priority. Late shipments would fall into this category so a retailer could plan accordingly. However, letting your retailers know about a new product would not be considered high priority in regards to email notifications.

3. Don’t let your emotions get in the way of your professional words. Feeling pissed? That’s human. But think about how your emotions may come across in your choice of words in an email that can ultimately result in your business success – or failures.

4. Be careful who you copy (cc) and blind copy (bcc) on your emails. In addition, only hit “Reply All” when necessary and keep those not necessary in the email correspondence off the email thread.

Finally, enforcing an email policy for your business can help ensure professional communication and results. Identifying what is important to your business through a written policy is the best way to do this. Make sure to communicate these details to all necessary employees and have them sign an acknowledgement that they have read and understand it. By enforcing this, you protect yourself and your company. In addition, you gain respect from clients, customers, potential accounts and more! A better possible result? Increased sales! So make sure you are putting in place an email policy today!


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