Every so often I get emails that cause me to shake my head in disbelief. I read them and think that if someone spoke to me — in person, in that way — I would have a hard time not reacting.
Today, I’m going to talk about the reality of not using the basics of email etiquette in your online communications. Including the fact that email etiquette applies to website contact forms and your social media communications too.
Of course, those that don’t take courtesy into consideration when they communicate online probably wouldn’t say the same thing, at least not the same way, if face-to-face. I would bet that these emailers just do not realize how demanding or terse their message “sounds”. In-person, they would most likely make extra efforts to avoid that from happening.
No Courtesy; No Reply
My natural inclination has always been to reply to everyone who emails me. I take the opportunity to share my POV and help them to understand. I also double-check that the tone and intent are not something I am implying.
Unfortunately, after over two decades, it has become increasingly clear that this approach is not prudent or productive.
When folks are clearly making no effort to add courtesy to their communications, I no longer reply. Why should the onus be on me to make an effort to “show them the light”. In particular when clearly they made little to no effort to communicate as an educated adult?
Website owners are increasingly taking this stance too. Website visitors fill their inboxes with requests that are filled with demands, typos, and poor grammar. Yes, if it is an established customer, you need to reply while reflecting the epitome of professionalism. But what about “first contacts”?
Why encourage a relationship with those who make inaccurate accusations or demands that are impossible to accommodate? You can’t help but wonder what would a person who communicates in that manner be like to communicate with on a regular basis?
No Email Etiquette = Not a Good Customer
Lack of basic email etiquette courtesies is a sure sign that you will be a difficult customer to serve. I know I’ve had that very thought for some inquiries through my business website.
What happens if someone contacts me telling me how they expect me to do my job (based on no knowledge of what is involved)? They explain to me what they are willing to pay (again with no knowledge of what is involved). All the while making demands on my time that are unreasonable (I need this ASAP).
I’ll most likely be too busy working with those who communicate as professionals who reflect they respect my experience and expertise. My business, my choice.
I’ve used email for decades and know the warning signs. It is common for my gut instinct to raise a “red flag” based on how an email is structured. And I listen because I have learned the hard way.
You don’t want those you want to form online relationships with or do business with to decide, simply because you refrain from using email etiquette in your communications, that they would rather opt-out.
Stand Up and Stand Out
Today, we depend on email more than ever. Our inboxes are increasingly being filled with more messages that need our attention that take our time to respond to. It is common sense to realize that not all messages warrant the time or are a priority to garner a response.
For those who are unable to email with “knowledge, understanding and courtesy”, realize that you are making a choice to possibly be ignored. I know that’s tough to hear but that really is the reality.
Time to think about how you communicate with those who don’t know you. Most would rather spend their time responding to those who contact them in a way that lets them know that their time and advice will be appreciated.
That is why email etiquette is so important when emailing those you need help from or what to form relationships with. These little courtesies allow your email to be viewed as a serious one thereby increasing your chances of receiving a response.
Because, if you don’t want to make these efforts, know that no response probably actually is a response.