How to Avoid Common Customer Service Email Mistakes

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  • 0:03 Each Email Matters
  • 1:17 Before You Start
  • 2:05 Email Content
  • 3:11 Before You Hit Send
  • 3:44 How to Reply
  • 4:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amber Dixon

Amber works with graduate students enrolled in a virtual program and has a Master's of Social Work degree.

Email has become a common form of communication, but looking professional is still important. This lesson highlights some dos and don'ts when creating business correspondence.

Each Email Matters

Have you received a business email with excessive exclamation points, capital letters, and slang terms? If so, then you probably know how to identify an unprofessional email. This lesson will review email etiquette and what to avoid when creating and responding to business emails.

Every email that companies send to customers is a chance to exchange clear communication. Professionalism is conveying a professional image. Each employee has the responsibility to ensure communication is appropriate and a positive reflection on the company. Let's review the essential components we should all include in emails, including the subject line, salutations, and body.

  1. The 'From' field should include your name with proper capitalization.
  2. The 'Subject' line should concisely capture the topic and content of the email.
  3. An opening salutation should be included. For example, 'Dear Ms. Smith', or 'Hello Tom,'.
  4. The content in the email should have complete sentences, proper grammar, and accurate spelling.
  5. The ending of the email should give a salutation. For example, 'Sincerely,' or 'Thank You,' and then your name.

Before You Start

It's important not to ignore any emails - you want your company to come across as diligent, responsible, and organized. Responses should include a greeting at the beginning with the name of the person who will be receiving the correspondence. Make sure you are spelling the person's name correctly and using the proper titles.

Use the proper case for all your content to convey a professional image. Avoid using all lower case letters - it implies hastiness or a lack of thought. All capital letters should be avoided as well, as that implies anger or reactionary language.

Try to avoid backgrounds, as this makes the email difficult for others to read and can risk looking tacky. Ensure font settings are set to a single font and a single color. Rainbow colors and flowery fonts do not put off a professional look!

Email Content

Email content should display a positive and friendly tone. The length of the body of the email should be concise. Emails that are extremely lengthy can overwhelm readers and cause them to miss key points. Increase efficiency by limiting the time it takes to compose and send an email. If you are clear and to the point, you also avoid getting more emails asking for clarification.

Let's take a look at a sample email below that is poorly written:

U R welcome. here is what you will need for the conference line. i am can probably get your call if you still do not understand it. Mikey

Here is the same email rewritten to include a salutation and proper capitalization. It's free of abbreviations, has a friendly tone, and includes a closing salutation:

Hi Ann,

You are most welcome. I have attached a step-by-step guide on connecting to your audio conference line. Should you have any additional questions or wish to practice this, please let me know and I would be happy to schedule another time for us to meet. Thanks and have a wonderful day!

All the best,


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