Our surveys are taken at my speaking engagements. I ask the audience what businesses and/or customers want to know.
A while back, we asked an audience of 350+ what bugged folks about emails they received. Without hesitation, the top three were:
1. Poor spelling and grammar. Your, you're; there, their, they're; here, hear; to, too, two—and the list goes on.
2. Emails that are too long; too wordy.
3. Wrong subject lines that don't match the body copy.
There were others that were frustrating, but these rose to the top. They aren't bad; simply useless and unnecessary (i.e., not needed and ineffective). When these phrases are eliminated, emails usually read better; sound stronger.
Here we go:
"Just a note to let you know ..." or "Just wanted to say ..." or "I'm just checking back to see where we are on ..."
"Just" is a weak, wimpy word. Not necessary. In fact, it's lame and useless. Eliminate the word "just" in your sentences. Read those sentences without the word "just" and see how much stronger they become.
"As I (or you) mentioned on the phone ..." or "Pursuant to our call (conversation, whatever) ..."
Double work, not needed, not necessary. Confirm the statement instead with: "Glad you liked the proposal," or "Enjoyed our call," or "Here's a handy recap of our call," or "Good call and excited we can make 'X' happen," or "By now you've received our proposal." Email is a time to use your personality. Formal sayings, unless you're a lawyer (sorry), aren't normally needed.
"Please let me know if you have any questions."
You gotta be kidding me. Hard to believe folks still use this, but they do. Most folks will let you know if they have questions. This is not needed. "Trust me to follow up," is much better.
"If there's anything else I can do, please let me know."
Seriously? That's a real 'get rid' of line. It's normally OUR responsibility to follow up. So, again, a better phrase would be: "Trust me to follow up to handle your questions."
Long rambling emails. Not a phrase, but an annoyance.
Salespeople tend to want to give the client all the information. But today, we get emails on our iPhone, iPad, and some of us on our watches, and who knows where else. Not too much room for a long emails with rambling sentences.
Keep your subject line accurate, relevant and interesting.
Topics change within the email? Keep up with the subject line. Make your emails COUNT. Change the body content? Change the subject line.
Remember, less is more. Long, rambling, wordy emails aren't normally necessary. And watch your spelling and grammar. Use your personality. Personalize the email. Keep it interesting.
Nancy Friedman is founder and president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training in St. Louis, Missouri. Telephone Doctor helps companies communicate better with their customers and coworkers. Nancy is a popular keynote speaker at franchise conferences and corporate meetings around the country. The author of nine, Nancy has appeared on Oprah; Fox News; CNN; Today Show; CBS This Morning; Good Morning America, Great Britain, Australia; and many other radio and TV shows and media outlets. She can be reached at [email protected] or visit www.nancyfriedman.com or call 314.291.1012.
This article was republished with permission and originally appeared at The Telephone Doctor.
Photo courtesy of Nancy Friedman.