Telephone etiquette and internet etiquette via e-mail are actually hot topics right now as many believe the use of e-mail and cell phones have brought into the business environment a loss of good manners.
E-mailing is as important as live phone conversations in today’s companies and many employers are losing customers, leads and dollars due to poorly handled e-mails. One can have their character, performance and intelligence pre-determined by the way they write, reply and use e-mail communication.
Let’s start with the basics of e-mail. There must be a subject line that demonstrates the core meaning of your e-mail message. There should always be a greeting as with any mail correspondence; that is just good manners. There should be a closing so as to not make you sound terse or annoyed.
Be sure you address the note with the same formality as you would in personal or business communication such as Dear Ms. Santamaria or Dear Rita. Always verify correct spelling of the person’s name and spelling within the body of the note. E-mails with typos are not taken as seriously or degrades the person’s intelligence level.
Read your e-mail out loud prior to clicking send so as to check the tone of your message. Choose words that reflect your meaning and try not to be abrupt. Using all capital letters give the recipient the feeling you are screaming at them. Bolding your words show you are emphasizing a point and being emphatic. Using all lower case sounds like you are mumbling. Don’t abbreviate words like two, too, for “2” or you with “U”. You are giving a first impression of yourself over the electronic mail delivery system and abbreviations give your associates and clients the impression you are in a hurry, disorganized or uneducated.
The use of!!! and??? demonstrate too much emotion in an e-mail unless it’s a personal e-mail and that is your goal. If the intention is not to have a personally charged tone in your e-mail, walk away from the computer, cell phone, relax for awhile and then reread your remarks and ask yourself if you were on the receiving end of the note would a working solution occur based on the wording and tone of the e-mail you are writing? Reviewing the sender’s e-mail to verify you are interpreting their message is a great suggestion. When in doubt, pick up the phone and call that person to verify the sender’s information.
Type complete sentences and use correct sentence structure. The use of thank you, please, how are you, and such are always good communication techniques and relevant to every e-mail and form of communication.
Teliquette or telephone techniques in the work place are a skill that requires continual training. First impressions are made by the greeting and tone of the receiver. Answering the call with “hello, thank you for calling Champions School of Real Estate, this is Rita” is always appreciated by the caller. Answering in a slow enough pace so as the person calling can understand the name of the receiver is important.
Remembering to be polite with thank you, and please will give the first impression people have of an entire company. Answering the phone call on the first ring is an example of the company being prepared and anxious to receive the call. If the call cannot be handled on the first few rings due to lack of call support, put a caller on hold and pick up the other ringing line and get the new caller’s name and phone number or worst case basis, have caller go into voice mail. Remembering to check voice mail all the time and return calls right away is of primary importance. Never tell the caller how busy you are or that many lines are ringing, etc. That is not your client’s concern or problem to solve. Again, it makes you and your company sound disorganized and short staffed. This is not a good first impression of the company you work for.
Always say “thank you for holding” when you come back on the line from putting a caller on hold. Identify yourself with “this is Rita, how may I help you?” Do not sound agitated, too busy, disorganized when answering the phone as people can always call your competitor and perhaps get a happier more positive person to do business with.
Cell phones should be on silent when in a personal face to face conversation with others. It is never good etiquette to answer a phone call when in a meeting. If absolutely necessary, excuse yourself and step out of the room to take an emergency call. It is not appropriate to talk out loud and answer your cell phone when at an event, meeting, church, seminar, and luncheon. Those wearing Bluetooth devices are no exception to remembering to turn off devices during meetings. The person sitting in front of you having conversation with you is the precedence of any phone call.
Teliquette or Netiquette can make or break your business success.
Rita Santamaria is the owner of Champions School of Real Estate with schools in Austin/Round Rock, Dallas/Plano, Ft. Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Online. For more information, please visit www.ChampionsSchool.com.