Other areas of business and effective e-mail communication

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By Goke Ilesanmi

Another area worthy of note is e-mail and job application. There are key strategies for sending email cover letters. We will discuss these strategies. It is noteworthy that you must ensure that you know the rules of a dynamic cover letter. Before you even conceive the idea of sending an email cover letter, first make sure you understand all the rules and guidelines for writing a dynamic cover letter.

Do not waste your subject line. Do not ever leave the subject line of your email blank, but do not waste it by just inserting the job number. Instead, use the subject line to attract the reader to your letter. For example, for a head of accounts position, say something such as Experienced accountant for head of accounts position.


Opening paragraph

Your opening paragraph is critical. More than ever, your first paragraph has to be dynamic; you need to project your abilities to the reader in this first paragraph.

Make your e-mail cover letter short: Being brief is essential in an e-mail cover letter. Focus on your key selling points. Ensure that your letter is not longer than one screen.

Employ keywords: Make use of the keywords that are crucial to the job you are looking for, and focus on key industry buzzwords and critical skills sets.

Noun phrases are better employed than verbs in a typical e-mail cover letter. As a result of the fact that your e-mail cover letter may be filed into a database, employing critical keywords will enhance the possibility that your cover letter and the curriculum vitae will be retrieved in a future search.

Employ plain style: Your e-mail cover letter should be written in “plain text”.  Some e-mail packages allow users to manipulate font style, colour, and size, but make sure your e-mail cover letter is sent in plain text. In other words, use black font, normal size and typeface (10 point, Arial, Helvetica or Times Roman) on a white background.

 Length of lines: Ensure that your lines are no more than 60 characters in length. Some e-mail packages automatically do word wrap for you (much like word processing software), but you should check to avoid your cover letter being fragmented on multiple lines.

Use standard cover letter guidelines: You should also be conscious of standard business letter writing guidelines, your writing an e-mail cover letter notwithstanding. Include a salutation (e.g. Dear Mr. Gbenga) and a standard closing (e.g. Yours faithfully, Yours truly, etc.). Give space between paragraphs, and avoid the use of abbreviations, wild colours, and other styles and shortcuts used in everyday e-mails.

Do not bother with attachments (unless requested to do so): According to experts, some corporate organisations  block all e-mails with attachments; thus, your e-mail would never even be received if you have used an attachment.


Company guidelines

Follow the company guidelines: Many companies now have career centres on their corporate websites. It is better to take the time and check than to send something the company does not want.

Do not click the Send button without thoroughly proofreading and spell-checking your e-mail letter: Do not rely on your e-mail software’s Spellchecker alone, especially that most computers have been programmed to a particular regional variant of English. For example, most of the typed documents on computers these days automatically change to the American variant of English. So relying on Spellchecker may just change everything to American English. Therefore, take the time to manually proofread your cover letter to avoid unnecessary errors.  Note that a simple typographical error could spoil a well-composed cover letter. Therefore avoid all forms of mistakes.

Test your letter before sending it to a target company: Even if you are sure your letter is well composed, send it to a friend  first and check for the content and style one more time.


Replying e-mail from your angry customers

In a perfect world there would be no angry customers. The product would work flawlessly, it would arrive on time, and no customer would wait—listening to elevator music—for 30 minutes. But because this perfect world is absent, you will definitely have angry customers. And they will send angry e-mails.

According to Marilynne Rudick and Leslie O’Flahavan, partners in E-WRITE, a training and consulting company in the Washington, D.C. area and co-authors of Clear, Correct, Concise E-Mail: A Writing Workbook for Customer Service Agents, “Whether you’re hearing from your angry customer by phone or e-mail, your goals are similar: fix the problem and convert an angry customer into your biggest fan.”

If you adopt the following tips for answering e-mail from angry customers, you will solve the customers’ problems and defuse their anger.

The first of these is to restate the problem. Before you answer an angry customer’s e-mail, show that you understand the problem. If the customer has included all relevant information in the e-mail, you should simply restate the problem and then set about solving it. Quote or paraphrase the customer’s own words to show you have read his e-mail carefully. Include all relevant information you have about the customer: purchase history, account number, previous customer service contact, etc. But if you do not understand the problem completely, then the next tip might help.

To be continued

PS: For those making inquiries about our Public Speaking, Business Presentation and Professional Writing Skills programme, please visit the website indicated on this page for details.

GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.

Tel: 08055068773; 08187499425

Email: gokeiles2010@gmail.com

Website: www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng

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