Part of being a good consumer and customer is communicating with clarity in your e-mail communications. When you send questions by e-mail or through a website’s contact form that is an opportunity to show what a good customer you are or have the potential to become.
Simply because you are the customer doesn’t negate the need for you to make the effort to give all the information and details the other side will need to aid you with your inquiry. Nor does being the customer mean you do not have to capitalize sentences, spell check or ignore proper grammar.
I have some examples that I have personally experienced to share with you. Here are two examples from today alone where e-mails reflected a lack of courtesy, details and clarity.
Just Tell Me How…
One person e-mailed my WordPress Consultant Site simply stating:
How can I put something on ebay to sell?
No Hello or Hi, or “Thank you for your help.” They didn’t even sign their name. What is odd is that I do not even offer eBaY setup/customization services.
But for the sake of this example, say I did. Was I to spend time explaining all the details that question entails simply because someone took the least amount of effort to e-mail me that question? What type of customer do you think this person would be like to work with?
I did reply and sent them to the eBaY Seller Help pages. No response after that…
Customers Are Not Always Right
The next example is from a customer who claims to have purchased my Business Email Etiquette eBook
Where is my order from 9/17….???????? I DON’T HAVE MY BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!
Wow — being it is an eBook, the system would have immediately sent an e-mail with their download link.
I checked my order system — had a bunch of orders for that eBook on 9/17. No order under this person’s name or e-mail address.
I checked my payment processor — no payments there either from anyone by the name provided. This took 15 minutes of my time to find I have no order under this person’s name or e-mail address.
So, if this request is legit (and the lack of e-mail etiquette and multiple question marks puts that into question) a more courteous and detailed inquiry probably would have allowed me to respond with all the details they were looking for with one reply.
Instead I had to spend time looking for an order under this sender’s name or e-mail that doesn’t exist. Did the order get placed under another name? Was a different e-mail address used? Are they even at the right site?
These details would have saved me from having to go through all of this to only e-mail back asking for more information. Turns out this person didn’t order my eBook, (they responded as though I should know this by osmosis) they ordered one of my paperbacks from Amazon. I explained they needed to contact Amazon as I have no visibility or control over their operational processes.
The response? “you suck!” This person needs much more help than any of my e-mail etiquette books may offer.
Customers Have Responsibilities Too
The key here is that as a customer, it behooves you to give all the details you think the other side will need to respond to your inquiry. Doing so in a kind and courteous manner will most likely ensure your receive a prompt and courteous response back.
Do you waste time by not communicating the common sense details needed causing unnecessary e-mails? Do you believe that by being the “customer”, you have the right to communicate in this way?
Because one is the “customer” certainly doesn’t give them permission to e-mail without any details, courtesy or proper e-mail etiquette. By not taking the minuscule amount of time to add greetings, details and closings, you show that you most likely will be a difficult customer and not a very profitable one to boot.
However, when you e-mail with courtesy, details and clarity, you can bet the other side will value your business and go out of their way (before those who e-mail like the examples above) to promptly answer your requests with the same! Use your e-mail inquiries to show what a great customer you are!