What’s in Your Property Management Business Emails?” Now I will cover more of the dos and don’ts of “netiquette,” the buzz word for email etiquette.
Many of the don’ts are obvious and you could comprise this list from emails you’ve experienced. In fact, one of the best ways to figure out what not to do is to review emails you receive.
- Don’t use difficult hard-to-read “fussy” fonts. For professional emails, use an appropriate font. Calibri, Arial, and Verdana are some of the more popular ones.
- Don’t make the font size too small or large making it is difficult to read.
- Avoid using emoticons and cutesy abbreviations. Save them for informal emails, such as family and close friends.
- Don’t use “email stationary” that makes text hard to read through colors, flowers, images, etc.
- Don’t use a lot of capitalization – in the world of writing, this is considered “shouting.”
- Refrain from using negative or inappropriate language.
- Are you really going to put that client on a broadcast email list if you send out jokes, cartoons, political opinions, etc? Give that a LOT of thought – many people resent receiving this stuff, particularly in their business email. Make sure the target is someone who will appreciate the information.
Return email in a timely manner. This is tricky for all of us, especially if a message falls into your junk file or you are away from the office. If you do use the “out of office” message, use it sparingly. I know people who are always “out” because they never turn this tool off. You don’t want your clients to feel you are never available or that you are continually on vacation. After all, their thought will be “who IS managing my property?”
If you are out of the office for a longer period than usual, set up someone to monitor your email or put the party they CAN contact in the “out of office” message. Just remember to follow up and turn it off when you return.
Keep on track with messages. Do you ever receive an email that is pages long because the people have replied to the original email several times? There may be a reason to document all of this in one email with the same subject line. Change the subject line if you are adding content changes.
Know the proper protocol for using email. Do you understand how to use “reply all, BCC, CC, and To” properly and how they should be used together?
- Never ‘BCC’ & ‘To’ Together. If you want to copy someone on an email without the recipient knowing, never use BCC (Blind CC). If someone who is BCC’ed does not realize and hits Reply All, it will become obvious what you’ve done. Instead, send the email normally; then forward a copy from the sent items folder.
- Use BCC to prevent problems with Reply All. If you are sending to a wide distribution list and you want to prevent someone doing Reply All, put ALL the recipients in the BCC list. It is good manners to note the party the email has been sent to in the body of the email. This technique can also be used if you don’t want the recipients to know about each other for privacy reasons.
- To and CC: if you are sending an email to a subset of the recipients, make sure they are in the “To” list, not the CC list. Address the people you are expecting to take action in the body of the email.
- If you add or remove recipients when replying to an email, make a note in the body, such as “Adding (name)”, “Removing (name”, or “Copying (name)”.
Can’t help it that you are poor at grammar and spelling? For longer messages to important clientele, you don’t want a sloppy email to detract from your professional image. Turn on all the bells and whistles in the grammar and spell-check in your word processor and type out your message. Review it, check it carefully, and then copy and paste into your email program. Include a signature line and send.
Never send an email in anger. Have you ever sent an email when angry only to regret it? Well, I have one email I will always remember and wish I had never sent – I wouldn’t be surprised if you do too. If you receive an email and it makes you angry, step away from it until you can handle it calmly. This could lose an account you really don’t want to lose.
Tip – put your anger on a page in your word processing program and vent! Just don’t send this time bomb anywhere. Once you put your anger on paper, reread it, and figure out a better way to write your message – then copy it into an email and send. This is a good way to vent without doing something you “cannot undo.” That undo button in your word processor works great but once an angry email is out in cyberspace, you cannot use an undo button. Even worse, someone can immediately forward your angry email to zillions of people. When in doubt, don’t send that email!
Download the free Netiquette Checklist to facilitate educating your personnel.
Next month, I will address personnel and office manuals as they relate to email usage in “What’s Going Out of the Office?” AND, our newsletter subscribers will receive another free form to use in their property management office! Have a great day in property management.
Jean Storms, MPM® is the founder/author of LandlordSource and has been a NARPM® member since January 1993.
Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.