Answering Emails Professionally in 6 Easy Steps

Responding to emails professionally is crucial in today’s digital age. It is important to understand the significance of providing concise, clear, and impactful replies. By following these six steps, you can enhance your email communication skills:

1. Be prompt: Respond to emails in a timely manner. Delayed responses can create a negative impression and convey a lack of professionalism.

2. Keep it concise: Prolonged and rambling emails can be overwhelming. Be concise and focused, providing only the necessary information to address the recipient’s concerns.

3. Use a professional tone: Adopt a polite and respectful tone throughout your email. Avoid using informal or slang language, as it may diminish your professionalism.

4. Proofread before sending: Take the time to proofread your email for grammatical errors, typos, and any confusing or unclear statements. This step ensures your message is clear and well-articulated.

5. Maintain clarity: Ensure your email is easy to understand. Avoid technical jargon or unnecessary complexity. Use clear and straightforward language to convey your message effectively.

6. Always follow up: It is essential to close your email with a polite closing statement, inviting any additional questions or providing further assistance if needed. This displays your willingness to engage further and fosters professional relationships.

By implementing these steps, you can greatly enhance your email communication skills, making your replies concise, impactful, and professional.

How to Answer Emails Professionally in 6 Easy Steps

What’s the best way to communicate with website visitors, sales prospects, customers, or coworkers?

Innovations in instant messaging, like Slack, may be ideal for quick responses or chat. To keep potential customers informed at all hours, it may make sense to use chatbots. There are also companies, like Zappos, that specialize in mastering the art of customer phone calls.

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But what if your business doesn’t have a call center or dedicated customer service team? And what if you don’t have the time or expertise to try using chatbots?

The simple answer is email.

Why use email for professional conversations?

To this day, email remains one of the most common and preferred forms of communication. It’s everywhere, all the time.

The majority of U.S. adults use email, and Americans are practically addicted to it, checking it around the clock.

According to Marketing Charts, email is the preferred customer choice for sharing positive feedback and is second only to a phone call for answering simple questions or registering complaints.

In short, your customers expect to email you, and they expect a quick response.

Not replying to business email comes at a cost

The problem is most companies are terrible at replying to emails.

About a third of companies never respond to customer or prospect emails at all. And when they do, their responses are often incomplete or inaccurate.

For small businesses, this is a costly mistake.

In a study by Accenture, 91 percent of respondents reported being frustrated by having to contact a company about the same issue more than once. And 66 percent of global customers switch to a competitor after a poor customer experience.

As David Pierce wrote for Wired, email isn’t dead, but the way we use email is broken.

Managing team email is work—but you can improve your responses

Now, if those numbers discourage you, don’t worry. There is an incredible opportunity for improvement. With some training and attention to process, anyone who handles email in your company can do better.

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By improving email responses, you can retain customers and maybe even win frustrated customers from your competitors.

It will take work, but once you and your team get the hang of it, it will pay off.

To help, we’ve put together a six-step checklist to improve your email responses. You can read through the explanation below or download it to share with your team. Print it out to keep near your computer for easy reference.

6 steps to writing a professional email response

When you receive an email, follow these steps to write clear and helpful replies.

1. Read the message

Read it again. Most people skim emails, missing important details. Reading it carefully will prevent misunderstandings.

2. Look for clues

Context matters. Consider the problem, sender’s intent, emotions, and priority level.

3. Think it through

If it’s an easy issue, skip to step 4. If not, gather necessary information or ask for team support.

4. Write your response

Start with empathy. Acknowledge the sender’s feelings. Confirm the problem and goal. Commit to a resolution. Offer a clear solution or involve another team member.

5. Invite a reply

Encourage feedback. Review and proofread your email. Then, hit send.

6. Ask for feedback

Follow up with the customer after a day or so. Include a satisfaction survey or ask for suggestions to improve.

By consistently following this checklist, you can improve your email responses and build better relationships with customers and team members.

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