10 mistakes to avoid while mailing to clients

Updated: Dec 19, 2018 UTC
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Have you ever fumbled with that recall button immediately after sending a mail? But recalling the mail does not erase your mistake often, trust me. Some recipients read the e-mails instantly and then your recall will be fruitless. A wrongly written mail once shot is gone, and the damage has been done.

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Sometimes, the mistakes are naïve and no one points them out but the repercussion would spoil your image with bad writing skill, worse if it questions your professionalism. Here is a comprehensive guide of 10 most abjured mistakes to avoid while mailing the clients.

1.      Wrong opening, bad closing

Not always, but sometimes, we go wrong with opening and closing greetings in the mail. For a business e-mail, the greeting should be balanced between casual and formal. Never get overboard with something like “Good Morning Mrs. Paula Scott”. These sound like you are talking to Paula for the first time. Also, “hey Paula dear” is going to push the client to turn away. A start with Hello/Hi/Dear followed by the first name of the client is the most agreed upon way. “Hello Paula” is a suitable greeting.

Do not forget to sign off the e-mail with Warm Regards/Thanks/Best Wishes followed by your name. Usually, while replying from a mobile mail program, the closing part suffers miserably. A signature would be wonderful although not compulsory.

2.      Mind that Tone

As we already mentioned, a balanced opening line is always great. Similarly, match the tone of the mail. Neither too formal with a Sir or Mam not too casual like a friend. Strike a middle ground to make your points clear to the clients.

Maintain the politeness. Smileys look great in personal chats. Don’t make your mail a pile of emotions by showing your mood. An emoticon showing happiness is all right occasionally but avoid making it a habit.

Avoid abbreviations: “d suggston sounds gr8” suits a personal chatting app but not business writing. Business writing is all about effective writing, not creative writing. So the fancy language aimed to impress should be locked away in the drawer. Use simple language that results in a crisp and comprehensive mail.

3.      Grammar

Business communication should be clear. You create your unprofessional persona with a mail drafted in a rush and sent without resolving grammar mistakes. Correct writing can fetch a faster, better, and positive response.

Most of the mailing softwares now integrate word checker in them, so keep it enabled. You can use Grammarly too if you have challenges fixing your writing issues.

4.      Dizzy length

Lengthy e-mails are awful to read unless it is an appreciation for the addressee. Keep the mail crisp and clear, divided into small paragraphs, relevant information clubbed together. If the information you are providing is long, attach it in a file.

Standard is to write 20–25 sentences in an e-mail. It should fit in a single screen. The beauty of a mail lies in its relevance. Don’t make it look like a promotional buy-me ad or an essay.

5.      Attachments dump

There are days when you are bound to share multiple artifacts with the clients. It is inconvenient for the clients to skim through a cluttered mail and for the server to process bulky or numerous attachments. Send them a zipped folder.

Almost all organizations, nowadays, invest in cloud sharing systems like SharePoint, DropBox, Box or some other tool. Use it to upload all your documents and share the path with them.

Worse is to forget an attachment, which was focal to the conversation. So, crosscheck your mail before pressing that send button.

6.      Precise Subject

To get quick attention to your e-mail from the clients in the heap they receive every day, the subject is critical. It should be clear with the objective of the communication. Limit the length to 5-8 words. A subject such as “Regarding the estimation for reports” or “Estimation for reports” is precise and would make sure, the mail would not be ignored or trashed. With a subject such as “Estimation – reply soon” or “Response needed - estimation”, you appear to be in a hurry while the client might feel offended.

Again, the SMS style words should not find a place in subject line.

7.      Talking too personal

Clientele e-mails should be only business. Do not talk about personal topics. To break the ice, asking about weather or football game is all right in calls but not for the e-mails. Remember, it will be circulated to many people.

8.      Remove the read receipt

This is one of the sins while mailing your clients. It may sound rude to some while some may think, you don’t trust them. Also, sending a mail is your responsibility while reading and responding is theirs. So, do not add a read receipt, rather follow up with them for a response. Ideally, do not follow up before 24 hours until urgent.

9.      Watch that Reply-to-All

This is the most annoying feature of e-mail programs, if not used wisely. You got the official holiday calendar link for the next year and without giving a thought, you press reply-to-all. Now brace yourself to be condemned by the recipients.

Never reply-to-all to a message that was sent to a group as a general notification. If you are marked in the copy, avoid the urge to reply to everyone. This is also important when you are sharing or discussing some confidential aspect of the work.

10.  Conflict resolution

If you are discussing a technical or design issue with the client over mail, better analyze it in a meeting. If not possible, don’t lose your calm and discuss the reasons for the glitch over the mail. There should not be any room for the blame. If the conflict goes beyond your control, pass it on to or involve the higher authority for discussion.

Don’t hit that sensitive send button before you check these 10 guidelines while emailing the clients—a standard for most of the industries. Still confused? Do not hesitate to ask a colleague or your supervisor to review your mail. Or drop a question below for us to answer.

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