How to Create an Effective Email Voice and Tone Guide

Creating an Effective Email Voice and Tone Guide

If your company handles customer emails with more than one person, it’s a good time to create a voice and tone guide. This guide will be a part of your overall company style, which covers how your company communicates with customers and talks about your products and services. Today, we’ll focus specifically on emails.

Why you need an email voice and tone guide

Consider your team’s emails as part of your company’s "brand voice." Every communication contributes to your company’s reputation. A good style guide ensures consistency and a positive customer experience.

Your voice and tone guide benefits everyone in the company, especially those who directly interact with customers. It also helps new hires by providing clear communication expectations.

How to create a voice and tone guide

Creating a voice and tone guide is simple, and your entire team can participate. Here’s how:

1. Understand the difference between voice and tone

Voice reflects your company’s culture, such as its formality level and the subjects it addresses. It includes factors like using customers’ first names or more serious language.

Tone, on the other hand, can vary based on the content communicated while still maintaining the core elements of the company’s voice. For example, you can write different emails using the same voice but with varying tones depending on the situation.

2. Know your audience

Analyze your company’s customers and their specific needs. Consider their preferences, demographics, and what they want to hear from your company.

Tailor your email communications to your audience, keeping them short, clear, and attentive to specific details that matter to them.

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3. Establish your customer service values

Gather your team and discuss their experiences as customers. Identify the qualities that make a good customer service experience and group them under key themes or create a word cloud to visualize the most prominent ideas.

Once your team understands its customer service values, combine them with your understanding of your customers’ needs.

4. Create examples for reference

Provide specific examples of email expressions that reflect your company’s voice and tone. Develop two sample email responses for each customer scenario—one representing the wrong voice and one representing the correct voice and tone.

For each scenario, tailor your response to be positive, personable, inclusive, and informative, even if the tone varies slightly based on the situation.

Sharing your new voice and tone guide

Store your guide where all team members can access it, whether on your company intranet or a sharing tool like Google Docs or Slides.

Include the guide in your new-hire training packet and review it periodically during team or company meetings. Create email templates to save time and reinforce the desired voice and tone in every message.

Finally, set reminders to revisit and update the guide annually as your company evolves and grows.

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