What does the overall quality of your employees’ email say about your company? Create an environment of proactive, prompt and professional email practices to maintain a strong reputation in the eyes of clients, vendors, potential talent and others. Focusing on the finer points of good communication, such as response time and message organization, ensures that every point of contact reinforces positive brand impressions.
Clients, Prospects & Vendors
“There are people who can be relied upon to respond promptly to emails, and those who can’t. Strive to be one of the former. Most of the best—and busiest—people we know act quickly on their emails, not just to us or to a select few senders, but to everyone.”
– Former Google CEO & Chairman Eric Schmidt and SVP Jonathan Rosenberg (How Google Works, 2014)
Emails reflect the overall experience that external contacts have with your company and brand. Response time is critical, as is thoroughly reading incoming messages to reply clearly and completely.
Provide reminders to improve overall efficiency and quality. This is especially important when employees are struggling to sift through a large volume of emails. Besides obvious tips, like actually replying (no ghosting), using spellcheck and setting auto-replies when away, best practices should touch upon all aspects of messaging and why they’re important, including:
While many messages don’t warrant an instant reply, within 1 – 2 business days is a reasonable expectation. For items that require more time, acknowledge receipt and provide a timeframe to a more complete message. If people need to follow up more than once to exact a response from your employees, your team is taking too long and negatively impacting your brand in the process.
Avoid overly casual language, like a “Hey,” greeting or signing off with first initial only, unless the relationship with a contact is familiar enough that such language is appropriate. If prospects don’t know Sam Jones in Business Development yet, they shouldn’t receive a cold outreach message that ends with “Chat soon, SJ.”
Read incoming messages in full to craft responses that address all points and questions the first time, avoid miscommunication and reduce back and forth. Prompt replies don’t make for great impressions when they’re clearly rushed and missing key information.
Ensure employees follow your company’s email signature guidelines. Whether it’s more complex (with logo, address and links) or plain text, an email signature reflects your company brand and consistent application of it reflects positively.
“Sorry if we’ve been too dumb to respond to you.”
– Elon Musk (10/8/21, 5:08 AM Tweet, in reaction to influx of Tesla job applicants)
Potential hires deserve the same care in email communications as other contacts too. Whether scheduling an interview, negotiating an offer or rejecting a job candidate, every interaction is an opportunity to create a strong brand impression.
Although many companies are overwhelmed by applications following peak resignations and vacancies, while simultaneously competing for top talent, these challenges are no excuse for weak communications. Failure to follow up with candidates regarding their application status, timeline changes and hiring decisions does not reflect well on the employer brand.
Ensure employees communicating with potential talent do so in a manner that’s reasonably prompt and conveys respect for candidate’s time and interest in seeking employment with your company. Remember, even when candidates aren’t selected, the impression you leave them with can impact their interest in future job opportunities and whether they recommend you to others.
The 800-Pound Gorilla of Business Communications
As the preferred communication method for business interactions, the email volume exchanged per day is expected to grow to over 376 billion by the end of 2025. Since its prevalence isn’t fading any time soon, employee email habits will continue to have a significant impact on external impressions of your employees and company. Reminding your team about best practices – and why they’re important – will ensure they make best impressions every time they click Send.