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6 best practices to master email communication with your customers

Enhance customer email communication with Mailbutler. Learn the 6 email communication best practices here.

First published

01.08.2022

Last edited

21.03.2024

Read time

7 minutes


    By James

    James has seven years' experience as a Content Marketer, bylines on Left Foot Forward, Submittable, and INOMICS, and a Master's in History. In his free time he likes to read, play guitar, and write for his personal blog.

    Businesses that can’t communicate effectively with their customers will have a hard time retaining those customers.

    It goes without saying customer service is key. When someone has an issue with a product or service, they should be able to contact you and explain their grievances.

    This communication usually won’t happen over the phone, through text, or on social media. It will happen through email.

    Email is still the most widely used method of communicating with customers. According to a study, 73% of customers prefer communicating with companies through email.

    And although social media gets all the attention, using email is essential, especially from a marketing perspective.

    Harris Interactive reports that 81% of online shoppers are more likely to buy additional items due to receiving emails based on previous purchases.

    Given its importance, businesses need to master effective email communication. Here are some tips and tools on how it can be done.

    Key takeaways

    • Quick Response Time: Aim to respond to customer emails within 24 hours to address their concerns or acknowledge that you're working on a solution.
    • Personalization: Make emails feel personal by using the customer's name and signing off with your name to build trust and rapport.
    • Use Effective Language: Ensure your emails are clear, concise, and free of grammatical or spelling errors to maintain professionalism and brand consistency.
    • Email Templates: Use templates for frequently sent emails to save time and maintain a consistent tone and quality in your communications.
    • Anticipate Customer Needs: Try to address potential follow-up questions in your initial email to reduce back-and-forth communication.
    • Clear Calls to Action: End your emails with a clear, bold, and visible call to action to guide customers on what steps to take next.

    Improve Your Email Communication

    Designed for business owners and freelancers using Outlook, Gmail and Apple Mail.

    Why email communication best practices are important

    • Stronger Work Relationships: Good email habits help you talk better with others. Writing clearer, shorter emails makes your messages easier to understand. This helps you get along better with people you work with, like customers and team members. When you communicate well, people trust and respect you more.
    • Better Organization: When you use good email habits, your inbox stays neat and tidy. This makes it easier to find important emails when you need them. You won't miss out on important stuff, and your work will be smoother. A clean inbox also means you spend less time searching for emails, which makes your day less stressful.
    • More Productivity and Better Results: Using the right ways to handle emails can save you a lot of time. When you don't have a good plan for your emails, you can end up wasting time. But with good email habits, you make sure the time you spend on emails is useful. Good emails can also help you achieve what you want, like making more contacts or getting more business.

    Email communication best practices

    1. Respond to customer emails within 24 hours

    When a customer contacts you by email with a problem, your response should come no less than 24 hours later.

    Even if the issue itself is difficult and it’s not something you can quickly resolve, it’s best to ensure you are consistently providing quick replies to all your customers.

    If you do need time to resolve an issue, respond to their email and tell them you are working to resolve it.

    This gives you time to come up with a solution or write a proper response. Instead, if you put off replying trying to think of a response you’re likely to lose the customer.

    Email platforms have reminders you can set so you don’t forget to respond to customers or to continue to work on the problem.

    Mailbutler provides follow-up task reminders, for example. If you don’t follow up with your clients you will lose their business.

    Make emails feel personal

    2. Make emails feel personal

    Automated customer service is being used more and more across every industry. However, each and every email should feel personal even when distributed through automation.

    First and foremost, be sure to use the customer’s name so you acknowledge them as an individual and not just another faceless customer.

    Using your name in the email can also be another step toward gaining the customer’s trust.

    Be respectful, no matter how the customer may be responding to the situation. If you happen to be sending someone bad news, be sure to be empathetic, even when customers respond angrily.

    Here’s an email communication example using natural, more personalized language:

    Hi [Customer First Name],

    Thanks so much for reaching out to us. It sounds like we sent you two bike helmets instead of one.
    While we are very concerned about your safety, that was an error on our side. You don’t need to return the helmet to us. You can keep it, gift it, or donate it. We’re sorry for the trouble.

    Let us know if you have any questions.

    Thank you for your support!

    [Your Name]

    3. Use effective language

    Effective email communication relies on using the right kind of language.

    It’s important that your emails conform to your communications strategy so that your brand’s message stays on point.

    You’ll want the same kind of tone expressed in your emails that is portrayed on your social media or website.

    Emails should do everything they can to improve the customer experience which means making sure there are no spelling mistakes and everything is grammatically correct.

    Be sure to double-check your messages; you don’t want something so insignificant affecting your business.

    If your email platform doesn’t have a spell-check tool like Grammarly, be sure to get one before sending out your next email.

    4. Use a template for emails you send the most

    Billions of emails are sent daily; the average professional will receive about 121 of them. Whether you have to read emails or write them on a daily basis it can be a time-consuming task.

    Billions of emails are sent daily

    Number of sent and received e-mails per day worldwide from 2017 to 2025 - source by Statista

    Say you have to send 100 emails today and 20 of them will have the same content but different recipients, or say several of your emails are discussing the same topic.

    Creating a template for these situations can save you a ton of time.

    Plenty of email clients allow you to create email templates so you can copy messages and send them to multiple recipients, saving you many hours of work per week.

    Alternatively, you can use Mailbutler's Email Templates feature.

    5. Anticipate the needs of your customer

    Email isn’t usually the place for virtual chats like social media apps, and it shouldn’t be - the backlog of emails would be enormous.

    With this in mind, when communicating by email with customers try to anticipate any follow-up questions your customer might have.

    You can send them an email containing a full list of questions and answers, i.e. an FAQ list.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t encourage them to reach out if they have further questions - but it’s best if you can minimize the amount of back-and-forth you have in your inbox.

    Email communication best practices

    6. Highlight your calls to action

    One of the biggest mistakes you can make after writing a lengthy email is failing to include a call to action (CTA). This means the entire message will probably be irrelevant and may leave recipients wondering what to do next.

    If you don’t add a CTA or clearly describe what the customer should do next, they won't take any action that will benefit your business.

    They may even stop reading your emails or, worse, unsubscribe from your email list entirely.

    Everybody has a full schedule and no one has time for emails without a concluding point or directive.

    Emails should be succinct and direct with their CTA clearly bold and visible.

    Streamline your email experience with Mailbutler

    Mailbutler allows you to integrate multiple features into your email client that can make communicating with customers by email more productive and efficient.

    Email communication best practices FAQs

    What are email practices? 

    Email practices are the established norms and expectations when it comes to using email in a professional setting. The end goal of these practices is to ensure that email communication is efficient, effective, and respectful. They may include guidelines for formatting, tone, and content.

    Email practices involve a wide range of considerations, including the appropriate use of subject lines, the proper tone and language, the importance of proofreading and editing, as well as the need to respect colleagues' personal time by avoiding sending emails outside of work hours.

    These email practices can help minimize misunderstandings, improve efficiency, and promote positive professional relationships.

    What are the 5 professional email guidelines? 

    Here are the 5 professional email guidelines that should be followed to ensure that email communication is effective and respectful:

    • Keep it concise - Emails should be clear and to the point. Avoid including unnecessary information or lengthy explanations.
    • Use an appropriate tone: It is important to communicate in a clear and concise manner while maintaining a professional and respectful tone.
    • Mind your manners: Follow the proper professional email etiquette rules to leave a positive impression. 
    • Be mindful of timing: Make sure to send your emails during regular business hours. Respect colleagues' personal time and avoid sending emails outside of work hours unless it is an emergency.
    • Proofread and edit: Carefully review your emails for errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

    What are the types of email communication? 

    There are several types of email communication:

    • Personal emails - Contain informal messages and are sent between individuals.
    • Professional emails - Formal messages sent between colleagues or clients.
    • Transactional emails - These are typically automated messages, such as order confirmations or password reset requests.
    • Promotional emails - These emails are marketing messages sent to promote products or services.
    • Newsletters - Regular updates or announcements sent to a subscriber list.

    How can I improve my email communication? 

    Use the following strategies if you want to improve your email communication:

    • Use clear subject lines that accurately recap the content of the email.
    • Keep emails brief and avoid unnecessary information. 
    • Use a professional tone and avoid emotional language, sarcasm, or humor that may be misinterpreted.
    • Use proper grammar and spelling
    • Respond promptly and acknowledge that you have received the email
    • Use email productivity tools like Mailbutler to improve email management and organization.
    • Avoid sending emails outside of work hours to respect colleagues' personal time.

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