The time has come for another rant about the proper use of email.
I spend a lot of my time in my inbox and far too often I receive email that just infuriates me. There are a few rules I follow and live in hope that some day others will follow too.
- email account name: Your email account name eg. “Philip Roche” should include your company name eg. “Philip Roche (Karova)”. This helps people know who you are and what company you’re from without having to check the email address domain.
- email subject: Always have a descriptive subject. You need to describe the contents in the email in a few words. NEVER send an email without a subject, It will more than likely get ignored. The subject should under every circumstance relate to the contents of the email.
- describe context of the email: Every email needs context, you wouldn’t start a normal spoken conversation without some context as to what you’re talking about so why should it be any different in an email.
- signature: Every email should have a signature and the signature should include your full name, title, company name, company url and phone number. Don’t include your logo in your signature, you’re just clogging up my inbox with pointless graphic attachments.
- forwarding: When forwarding an email to someone – always explain why you’re forwarding it.
- simplicity: Keep your email styles simple (font family and colour).
- replying: When replying to an email, reply inline – it’s a lot easier to follow and the context of your comment is already there.
It’s all about context. All the above suggestions will help in the searchability, readability, understandability, sorting and professionalism of an email.
Follow these suggestions and I guarantee that the recipients of your emails will appreciate it (unbeknownst to them or not).
Did I miss anything?
In February 2007 I bought two shiny new Dell 2007FP monitors for dual monitor love. They’re awesome and £500 well spent. I bought them from RDC and saved a bundle on the Dell prices. Since my move back to Wales one of the monitors developed a small yellow square in the top left corner. I rang Dell to check the warranty status. After some chatting and testing I was informed I would get a new one today. 11am this morning I get a shiny new 2007FP in exchange for my faulty one. Awesome customer service. The Dell guy on the phone was very professional and went out of his way to make sure I was happy. Big thumbs up!!!
Compare that with my experience with Europcar today. I paid online for a VW Golf rental car. I arrived at the depot and after some waiting I was given a Polo. I told them I ordered a Golf and that I didn’t have time to wait and that we’d sort out the difference in price when I brought the car back. I brought the car back this morning and was told that it was all head office that needed to sort out refunds like that. So it seems they mess up and I am the one that has to sort it out (excellent customer service). I was then told that the petrol tank was not full. I had only driven 70 miles and I filled up half way (£6) which means that I probably needed to fill about £2 or £3 in petrol. COME ON EuropCar!!! give me a fucking break. The tank registered as full but wasn’t overflowing to the brim. Fine I said whatever you fill it up.
I then get a call when I get back to work from a customer service rep saying that they didn’t like their customers to be unhappy. That’s nice I thought, she might sort this mess out – NO she proceeded to tell me that it was the head office and that if I’d waited I could have had a Golf as I’d requested. Then she revealed that I would be charged £1.60 per litre for the petrol that had to be filled. Now forgive me but surely a phone call like that should have been to do something to resolve the situation, NOT to piss me off even more. EuropCar – your procedures and customer service suck ass. And another thing – your depot is not in Downtown Colwyn Bay it’s in FUCKING Mochdre – a £4 taxi ride away.
Sorry for the rant but I had to vent
This blog is turning into a bitter twisted rant fest but I have one more. I have an important letter supposedly winging it’s way to me. I have a Royal Mail tracking number so I can check where it is. I enter the number on the Royal Mail website and I receive the message -
“Your item is currently progressing through our network for delivery.
To check your item’s progress please come back later.”
Now surely I should be getting more information than this. I know it’s bloody on it’s way – it was posted. Now where is it??
I have a sneaky suspicion that this situation is as a result of the letter entering the calamity that is An Post (Irish postal service) so it is probably not all Royal Mail’s fault.
So if anybody sees my letter could they please let me know.
When myself and the lads moved into our house there was an ironing board. We’ve been using it since but somethimes when I iron I get a mesh like pattern on my shirt as the foam is really thin on the board. I decided to buy a new cover. I’ve bought two of them on two different occasions in two different shops – making sure I bought the biggest looking one they had. Neither of the things fit. I tried to fit them but I end up looking like an idiot as it just keeps flying off when I stretch it. I give up and from now on will be weraing football jerseys that require no ironing. As I’m a bit of a standards elitist (web standards anyway)…………why can’t there be a standard size for ironing boards and their covers. It’s insane!!
One size fits all……….MY BOLLOCKS!!!!
[end of rant!]
ps. Does anyone want to buy an ironing board cover.
Outlook is awesomely crap. I really do hate it. It hangs all the time. It’s rules are rubbish and not very intuitive to set up. I can’t “edit as new” and it’s tagging/flagging is not very good as the flagged state of an email is not very apparent. It also irks me that it insists on SHOUTING it’s process name to me in the task manager “OUTLOOK.EXE”. Where are thou oh loveliest of loveliest thunderbird :). Rant over
All too often, I get emails with one word subjects. It has always annoyed me and I have always edited the subject in my reply. It’s even worse if the subject makes no sense, has nothing to do with the content or the worst, no subject at all.
With several thousand emails in many folders, finding an email with a dodgy subject is a nightmare. I can search the content of the emails, but the result list shows me only subject so I’m none the wiser.
Please people, take care in writing your email subjects. In my opinion, it is the single most important thing when communicating via email. If you recognise one of the emails above, sorry but it does need addressing-