Professional communication with your client is like a long distance relationship. The understanding of what to say, when to say and when not to say is really important. One needs to get into the shoes of the client to understand their requests, concerns or any miscellaneous messages. Building trust is an important factor. If the clients do not trust the team, they won’t trust their work. This trust factor is built and broken at several instances and events. The key here is to work on it 365 days a year. If they trust you, go ahead and give them reasons to trust you more. If the clients are losing trust, make them trust you by giving them extra and showing them that, “We care!’’
The entire skeleton of the e-mail is really important. Think of it as your Board Examination Form or IT Return Form. You need to fill in each detail clearly and carefully. Any error done, stays in the record and you can’t really help that. Thanks to the cloud! The entire e-mail can essentially be divided into three major elements as per my understanding.
- The recipients
- The subject line
What could possibly go wrong in this? You address your mail to the client concerned with the deliverable, copy the entire subgroup and other member the information needs to and it is done! But this simple fill up might prove hazardous in certain cases.
The blunder of sending an incomplete message
Nobody makes an error on purpose unless you really really want to screw up your job. Negligence, ignorance, situations and human element comes into play when an error actually happens. When writing a mail the first thing most of the people do is to add the recipients which may have disastrous effects in certain cases. You might have an incomplete message, a rough draft with no attachments or signature. There are so many possibilities of having an erroneous and incomplete message. Having the recipients added gives OUTLOOK the power to send your message and smile over you with a devil grin. An unintentional click, button push or any other magic may send your mail out and all you can do is realize and regret. The bullet is out of the gun. There is no going back!
The solution? Always add the primary recipient after you have typed, checked and ok’d the mail. The cc column can definitely be filled beforehand.
THE SUBJECT LINE
The subject line is very important for clients. Nobody would want to go digging through the truckload of mails in the inbox to find that one report which we sent on 18.09.14_FY15. Maintaining a naming scheme for all those daily/weekly/monthly/
quarterly/annual reports always comes in handy. This scheme should not just be followed for the filenames but also the subject lines which makes it easier to access whenever the need be. In my opinion maintaining a tracker with labels mentioned below in the picture and sending an updated version of it every month to the client would also help them track the required files without a need to circle back to us. The subject lines should be clear and to the point. It should be like a prologue to the e-mail telling the clients what actually they can expect inside it. Vague subject lines? A complete no!
We will keep this short and crisp like the body should be.
- Use the space as if you were paying for it
- Clearer messages in fewer words
- Reasonable sized paragraphs
- Make all action items evident
I call it the 3 B Rule (Keep them bold, ❶ bulleted and brief)
- Make the writing client centered
Long sentences + wordiness + too many complications = A total turn off for the client
We should have a practice of writing reader focused e-mails and judge how the other person would react to it. The tone of the e-mail, the greeting and the body is very important. They are our clients, and their work is our responsibility. However frustrated we might be, the tone, verbiage, grammar and all other aspects should always be kept in mind. Look for the positive counterpart of negative words and state all your negative sentences in a positive form.