As a company that lives on customer service and quickly communicating we live within our email system. Not only does our internal Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system keep us informed of deadlines, new tasks (e.g. work to be done), and new leads & clients it sends and communicates with our customers. On any given day we send out hundreds of emails to keep communication at the highest level possible. Email though for us is not our primary communication method as there are a lot of downsides to it. Let’s look at how we use email and how we don’t.
The first line of communication for us is and always will be verbally. This is typically with that of a telephone call. If we had our choice we would sit down with clients all day long but that isn’t possible and a bad use of everyone’s time. Many of our clients are in other states while others are local but need to run their businesses. Although our clients love talking to us they have businesses, employees, and customers to attend to. Coming and visiting for hours on end not only hurts our productivity on their updates but their businesses from growing as they aren’t there working on where their passion lives. This is why we love phone calls as this provides a quicker response, almost always are short, to the point, and cover a specific item. This allows us to more rapidly start working on our client’s updates.
When phone calls aren’t possible either by request, the client is busy running and growing their business in the real-world email is a great tool. A client can respond of their terms when they have time. When an email is received the first step is replying to it to let the client know that we’ve received. We have found this is definitely something we need to do as if we wait until the requested task is done the client is left waiting and wondering if we’ve received.
Emails are impersonal, the tone can be easily misinterpreted, can come across as YELLING, and why the personal talking touch is so much the better. Often when I write an email it comes across as too technical even though I do everything in my power to keep it as non-technical as possible. When you talk with someone if they don’t understand something said it is quick and easy to state it differently making the customer service that much better.
We live in a world of instant gratification. Email is not an instant gratification mechanism of communication. Talking and communicating in the real-world is instant gratification and can lead to some really great results. This is one reason I don’t know why talking doesn’t happen more now than ever.
Always start with a phone call. If you get to voicemail follow it up with an email. If your client requests no phone calls use email. Make certain to always follow-up at defined intervals that work for your customer as they may receive 100+ emails in any given day. At the time of this writing, 5am, I already have thirty-four emails that are not junk (more if you count junk). Four are from clients and 30 are related to system updates and status messages.