The Hidden Way Your Text and Emails May Be Hurting Your Business
Tags: Customer Interactions,Customer Service in Text,Customer Service in Email,Understanding Customer Service in New Technologies
In 2017, there are all sorts of ways to communicate with clients, with the phone call of years past seemingly going the way of the dinosaur. But few who enter this brave new world of business communication are aware of the critically important new rules that govern these interactions. Unfortunately, without these guidelines, you may be risking misunderstandings from totally unintentional mistakes when you send off an email or dash off a text to a trusted client.
Here’s what you need to know:
#1. Match Your Texting “Tone” to Your Client
Is your client texting you pictures of their cat? Better find some kitten snaps to send them! In all seriousness, it’s critically important to match your tone to that of your client’s. If they’re uncomfortable with formality, avoid formal responses with them in turn. Alternately, if they prefer last names only, don’t risk alienating them with down home friendliness, either. The takeaway is always what your customer prefers. How to know? Let them set the pace, and the style of communication. If they text, text back. If they prefer email or calls, stick to their tried and true. Reflecting back their words, emphases and values will always connect you more than forcing them to accommodate the terms of communication you happen to prefer.
#2. Sending an Email? Practice Mirroring!
When it comes to emails, you can also let the client take the lead. Do they remain formal in their written communications with you? Then take the time to bookend your communications with an appropriate “Hello, Mrs. Smith” and “Best Regards, Ken” to establish trust and tone. Are they casual and friendly in their emails? Then don’t be distant. Make sure to match them in their personal touch and friendly affect.
#3. For texts, always identify yourself immediately.
Don’t assume your client has programmed you in already as a contact.
#4. For emails, rushing means risk.
Always make sure you double check spelling, formatting, address, and content before hitting send, every time. The Internet is full of horror stories involving emails sent too soon, or cc-ed to the wrong people, or with an inappropriate or inadvertently revealing email chain below the current message. Make it a habit to review what you’ve written first. No matter how busy or how important the message, errors are never acceptable. Taking the time to get it right is always a sound business practice.
#5. For texts and emails, always be brief and clear.
Resist the urge to write a tome for every client about every detail in one huge email or lengthy text message. No one wants to get, let alone read a long message than rambles on incessantly. If you can’t express what you’re trying to say in a few sentences, rethink what you’re trying to communicate. Chances are you’re either not sure of your message yet, or need to refine it in such a way that others can understand it better. A copywriter tip: make liberal use of bullet points, and format for short, readable paragraphs instead of long, unreadable blocks of text.
#6. Don’t rush your client.
People get busy. If you text or email your client, give them plenty of time to respond. You never know what people are doing, or not doing, when you reach them by telephone or email. If it’s urgent you follow up, try sending an email first, with a headline like “checking in” instead of “WHERE ARE YOU”. Remember, treat your cyber business communication with the same care and politeness you would a personal, face to face interaction.
Once you understand the easy rules to email and texting clients, you’ll find these techniques can enhance an existing business relationship, or help forge new ones.