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Proper E-mail Correspondence

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006 by | Filed Under: E-Mail Help
 
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Proper E-mail Correspondence

Most of us e-mail back and forth every day, so we all deal with different types of e-mail correspondences. Whether it be for business, for personal use, for school, etc., we all need to know the proper ways of sending e-mails to other people. Keep reading to see if you’re being professional about it or not.

As stated above, e-mail correspondence comes in various colors and designs and it is as creative as the sender makes it. E-mail from a decade ago is definitely not the same as e-mail today. We must be more careful about what we say and how we say it. Words used in an e-mail are like a small, lit match; they can be used to mend fragile relationships, warm the heart and light the way or they can ignite whole forests aflame that could cause havoc and destruction.

When we go shopping at the toy store, we can spend hours in one or two aisles, because there are just so many choices. Indeed, there are many choices with words also. In both cases, there are things in the toy store aisle that we can do, but there are some things we ought not to do. For instance, we can switch the price tag on one toy to another higher priced toy, but we all know that is a bad idea. It’s not bad because you might get caught, but bad because you know it is wrong. In relation, there are ways to speak to people in an e-mail that we know are right and some we know are wrong.

So, what is right? Does “right” mean just keeping in mind who we correspond with? Or, can there be a standard that people can use independent of who it is? I believe there is. There are thousands of examples and below are just a few.

Here is one scenario that may influence varied responses. You just paid for some software over the Internet with your credit card. The time that has passed has exceeded the time the company told you it would arrive at your house. No problem, you think. You will just call the 1-800 number they have on their Web site, but after redirecting your call four times, you hear the dial tone. You are upset, but you try calling again.

Now, into this phone calling nightmare for almost 45 minutes, you are angry that no one will answer. After all, you paid for the item and you want it. Should you not be angry? Of course you should be, but you can’t get ahold of them, so you decide to write an e-mail explaining your mounting frustration about how their customer service was always unavailable over the phone. You are careful to tell them that you have not received your purchase and you even include the invoice statement as proof of what you bought. Three days go by and counting. You cannot get this dilemma off your mind. Another e-mail lands you nowhere. You do not know what to do. You tried contacting them, but you got no reply. You decide you no longer want their software and you just want your money back. You will never deal with this company again, right?

So, you write a third e-mail, but you are not so polite this time. You say, “I will never do business with you again. You are deaf to my phone calls and e-mails and insult my intelligence. I demand my money back. You are a thief and should not be in business and I will get to the bottom of this.”

Surely, this is a letter you can write, but do you really think you should? Would it make you feel better? Maybe, but will it get you what you want? Not likely. In so many cases, we are obliged to overcome how we feel by an act of the will to do what we ought to do.

Now, let’s take the same scenario and use a different technique. Instead, say something like, “Gentlemen, I am writing this e-mail as an addition to my other two. I have not received a reply regarding a purchase, which should have arrived two weeks ago. I am concerned that it may have gotten lost in transit or perhaps was overlooked with the many deliveries you are responsible for at your warehouse. I have also tried to contact you by phone twice, but there was some difficulty and my calls never got through. I would appreciate hearing from you regarding this matter. Thank you.”

A reply from the company finally comes and it says, “We apologize for not being able to get back with you about your purchase. Our servers were hacked into and we just got back online. It was also very alarming that we thought our customer backup data was deleted. Please accept our apologies. Because of this delay, we are sending your purchase free of charge and we hope that this might retain you as one of our loyal customers.”

Again, the desire to say what we feel must be overcome with the desire to be courteous and professional, which we all know in our hearts, is the better way to communicate.

There are many occasions however, when you simply do not hear back at all from a vendor. What do you do then? That will be the subject of tomorrow’s article, so make sure you check that out as well. While you are waiting to read the other article, I want to include one more example of the proper way to send an e-mail.

This is one that is sent to many people. There is a thoughtful way to include others that will be the recipient of such mail. We all have had times that we find something useful to send or we find that there are stories that are uplifting that we want to share. How do we send a story like that to many people where safety and courtesy are concerns? Certainly one way is to address your e-mail to each recipient. There is nothing wrong with this. Each person receives it and each person feels special, because you addressed your e-mail to him/her alone.

Suppose however, you would like to send the same e-mail to all of your readers at one time. Most all e-mail clients are known to have what is called Carbon Copy (CC) and Blind Carbon Copy (BCC). Here we want to be respectful that only one person at a time will see your mail without seeing the address of every person you are sending it to. If we use CC, every person’s address is listed for each e-mail recipient to see, but if we use BCC, only the person in the To: box is seen.

This is important, because spammers love to see a whole slew of e-mail addresses that they can send spam to. Your friends will have good intentions, but those you may only know from a list may not. Hackers now have the addresses of everyone who will be receiving your e-mail. This is not considerate or safe. Instead, choose to send a group or list of people the same message using BCC, which is the kindest and least obvious way to send mail short of encryption.

On a final note, remember also that all e-mail sent through normal channels can be intercepted. Therefore only write what you want the world to see.

~ Stu Kopelman

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