As we ease into 2016 with New Year’s resolutions in hand, it seems like the right time to talk about the little things in business communication that might need some attention. At the ever increasing speed that business is conducted, we have all fallen into some bad habits. Whether we realize it or not, some of these habits might just be affecting your overall brand. Let’s take back good communication in 2016!
Always use a clear and direct subject
Do you skip the subject line in an email? In addition to making your coworkers, employees and vendors work harder to communicate with you through email, you are setting your email up to be flagged as spam. Many email programs learn to ignore email without a subject and send it straight to junk mail. Don’t make it harder on your clients by making them search through all of your emails to find the right one. Use an effective subject.
Use an email signature
Nothing is more annoying than an email saying “Please call me ASAP” with no phone number anywhere to be found. Don’t make your customers and coworkers do extra legwork in order to contact you. Make it easy on them by always using an email signature that contains at least one phone number and an alternate email address. It doesn’t have to be flashy or contain a logo, a simple text signature will do.
Don’t spam your customers
Poorly conceived and formatted email “blasts” from your personal email account look unprofessional. The situation is made even worse when you include everyone’s email address instead of creating a blind group address. Consider using a hosted email service like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor instead. Some services have a free account, you get a great selection of email templates, powerful email management and a great reporting mechanism. Make your email work FOR you instead of against you.
Use documents instead of email
You may be rushed, but try to avoid the temptation of using email as a document replacement. Estimates, contracts, long format text and project management schedules all have their place, and it’s not as text pasted in the body of an email. What may save time on your end may look like laziness on your team’s end. Take the time to prepare branded documents that your clients and co-workers can print or view online and you will earn the respect and loyalty you deserve.
Don’t call now! Schedule important phone calls instead
Everyone’s time is precious. If you have something really important to discuss that may take more than a moment and will require the concentration of the other party, consider scheduling the call. Send a text or quick email asking for a good time to call, outlining the subject you wish to discuss and the amount of time that you expect the call to take. A planned phone call, no matter how brief, goes a long way towards a successful outcome.
With a new year comes fresh hope for new clients, perhaps a new look or logo and perhaps new hires. Keeping in mind that it’s the little things that often matter the most, focusing on the details of your business communication might just be the easiest, cheapest and most effective resolution you can make in 2016.