Do you find responding to emails takes up too much of your time, especially if you are a sole trader, working the business yourself, doing your day to day business activates, and than communicating with clients via email, can be quite a challenge, and time consuming, especially if you have to give your attention to others area. At times you can be really stretched for time.
Your not alone, I find my self in this situation sometimes, as you have so much going on in your day, emails can easily distract you and take you off balance, especially if you get one of those emails that you have to fully read in detail and also the reply is not a 30 second response, it can take ten to fifteen minutes to reply back a constructive email.
I have been doing some research, and also experimenting how business owners can overcome this obstacle, and still reply a constructive and effective email, also not finding yourself spending hours just on responding to emails.
Not literary automating your replies, although that would be awesome if your inbox knew exactly what to reply to each email that lands in the inbox (maybe something for the future), but what I mean here is when you receive emails asking you to do certain things for your business, such as Updating records, renewing memberships, deleting subscribers, whatever the task maybe, look into if you can build or use a program to automate these tasks, and divert your customers to the automated system. Overtime they will come to know of the process, and you will start to reduce the amount of “To Do Tasks” email sent to you, and when you do, you just have to direct them in the right direction, which you have invested into to save you time.
Short & Sweet (KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid)
Most of the emails that come into your inbox, are generally people asking certain questions, or want more information about something. Now not everyone can explain things simply, and it may take them couple of paragraphs to explain what they are looking for. This doesn’t mean you have to also email them back a essay. Take the text message or Twitter approach, where you learn how to explain and respond to emails short and sweet, which are straight to the point. Your receiver will not be offended, as they appreciate that you are busy, and have probably 100s of emails to go though, as long as you have answered what they were looking for, you have done your job.
Overtime you will notice the same emails coming into your inbox over and over again, users asking the same questions related to your products or services. Why not have an FAQ page on your website, where you take time out and explain fully in detail the answers to the most commonly asked questions. What you will notice your visitors will generally look for questions on your website first, and if they can’t find them on your website, that’s when you get the email. Now if you do get an email asking a question that you have already answered on your FAQ page. You can either now just copy and paste it from your web page, or actually just replay back with the link to your FAQ page. Simpleeezz J
This is something that I have started to do more, similar to your FAQ’s, if users are asking you how to do certain tasks related to your products and services, rather than emailing them a detailed instruction, or a user guide. Record a demo video of how these tasks are done, and upload them to your YouTube channel. Again when the user asks you how to do these certain tasks, you just have to send them the video that you recorded earlier rather than spending time typing up an email. No more long detailed emails with step-to-step points on how to complete certain tasks. A well recorded video can do the job.
The other benefits of having a video, is that most probably you will WOW the customer, as the customer was not expecting this, they were expecting an email back from you, and you have sent them a detailed video explaining exactly what needs to be done. Besides this, you are building your brand on the world’s second largest Search Engine YouTube, which will build your awareness, as long as the videos are optimised well for the targeted searchers.
To keep all of your videos in one place or in a nice category, every time you post a video on YouTube you can write a blog post article on your websites blog, labelling and categorising it accordingly. Something like FAQ category on your blog, along with sharing these videos on social media sites. You can see now recording videos can be quite powerful for your business and brand, as not just your customers will benefit from these but other users of the web will also benifit, which will grow your reach online.
This is something easier said than done. On a serious note, if you can limit yourself or seclude yourself to when you check and respond to emails. Such as Every 45 mins just for 15 Minutes, or twice a day, or something that you feel is suitable for your business. By doing this, you have limited yourself to a certain time to check and respond to emails; you will aim to complete all of your emails within this time window allocated. By doing this, you will notice you will tend not to spend more time writing long emails. They will be more straight to the point emails, and you will not be distracted to keep checking your emails throughout out the day, which can affect your performance on other business tasks.
What you will also find is that if you send shorter emails, you will tend to get an answer back much quicker than sending a longer email. A short email is easy to digest and your client or the person you are emailing will feel that they can respond to this easily, lets do it now attitude rather than later. What you also have to take into consideration is just as you are busy with your business tasks, so are they.
When you send an email, you wan the other person to reply back or take an action, below are some quick points to keep in mind when sending an email:
Some key points
- Aim to keep your emails within 5 sentences.
- Get to the main point, keep it simple.
- If you have gone over and written 8 – 10 sentences, before you send it, just re check and see if you can cut it down.
- Relevant links, ensure you have put the links in the email which will direct your receiver to relevant pages of your website.
How to do you manage your emails, share with me in the comments below?