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Thread: Business communication etiquette in the online age

  1. #1
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Business communication etiquette in the online age

    During lunch with a client yesterday the topic of good manners in business email correspondence came up.

    Apparently the offending email sender was starting off the email message with:

    Hi,

    topic at hand


    rather than:

    Hi Fiona,

    topic at hand


    In the end we agreed that emails are probably a bit more personal than letters (particularly when the letters are being sent on company letterheads), so in most cases the following would probably be too stiff and formal:

    Dear Fiona,

    topic at hand


    but felt that it was still important to include the person's name in the opening salutation.

    And then as fate would have it this morning I was led to an article on the subject - Disruptions: Digital Era Redefining Etiquette, which kicks off as follows:

    Some people are so rude. Really, who sends an e-mail or text message that just says “Thank you”? Who leaves a voice mail message when you don’t answer, rather than texting you? Who asks for a fact easily found on Google?

    Don’t these people realize that they’re wasting your time?

    What was once normal can be seen as uncivilized — like asking someone for directions when such information can easily be found on Google Maps.
    The whole article is worth the read, and as someone who gets a pretty heavy stream of digital media arriving in my inbox or on my cellphone, at first I was nodding my head with the points made.

    But you know, after a little thought...

    Am I being old fashioned when I think as fast paced as life is nowadays, we still need to keep some courtesy in our communication, and make a little room in our world to accept a simple "thank you"?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  2. #2
    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Whilst I accept the wasted effort to send a thank you is valid, the thank you is an appreciation of the effort that was used to comply with the original request. The silence of no answer to requests made, eventually builds up to the giver as a tsunami that the world does not appreciate his effort.

    Everyone on this planet loves a little bit of recognition and appreciation, and on some days that you are loved by someone

    If you do not believe me, ask a telemarketer
    Victor - Knowledge is a blessing or a curse, your current circumstances make you decide!
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    Platinum Member Mike C's Avatar
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    I agree with Justloadit.

    I think that just a few words saying that your enquiry or email is being attended to (not an automated response) goes a long way to making the person feel that they have actually met up with a live person on the other side who is aware of the email and will be attending to it.

    We all believe that good communication oils the wheels of business - so sometimes just a word or two can be very assuring, and a thank you can even act as a non-monetory tip, showing appreciation for the quick response or the good service.
    An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't. - Anatole France

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I think a lot of this depends on the environment your working in. If it's dealing directly with a client we would use their name but 90% of my emails are to consultants, architects, engineers, sub contractors, suppliers etc. At the start of the job it's all very formal with dear sir and dear andy, and yours sincerly/best regards, headers, footers, company logos, website URL's and lists of qualifications etc with every email but three or four months into the job all the pleasantries and formalities are a thing of the past, it's just the body of text in plain text formatting with maybe the odd 'thanks' at the end if you're lucky and bugger all else.
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  5. #5
    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    I have been thinking about this and some comments from the article referred to where the recipient was annoyed by some one asking about his schedule.

    Now if we look carefully at our businesses, we are selling knowledge/know how, no matter what business it is, even a clothing shop, as the owner, you know where to get your goods to put on the shelf.

    Now by getting irritated and instructing your client to Google it , simply means that you are now empowering him to do a search, what you have also done, and by nature of the search engines, all types of hits using the search words come up, and invariably, your competitors also show up on the same screen. Your client being pissed off at the harsh brush off by being told to Google it, may look at your competitor, which he may not even have known existed, and you lose future sales. This also means that in future when they need services which you may offer, will first be searched on Google, and you may or may not get the next order.

    What should have been done, IMHO, is a link to your web site sent to the client. In this manner you keep a closed loop between your customer and yourself.

    On many occasions my clients ask me where to get ABC, I simply say that I will get back to them with an offer, and most times I get the order. All I simply done was to Google for the item, get a price, add a markup and sent a quote.
    Victor - Knowledge is a blessing or a curse, your current circumstances make you decide!
    Solar and LED lighting solutions - www.microsolve.co.za

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