Email in the business world unfortunately gets overlooked in customer service training courses these days – in fact, it’s almost seen as passé. It’s assumed that everyone is so comfortable with email by now, that to take extra time to train people on email etiquette seems unnecessary. However, it’s exactly because people are so comfortable with email that they tend to forget basic etiquette. To give us all a reminder, today’s customer service tip of the day will serve as a refresher for the rules of business email.

Use the CC field sparingly

The first tip is to ensure you are not blasting email unnecessarily to people who do not need to be involved in the issue. Over-CCing is a common email etiquette breach, typically because people want to make sure that no one is left out. However, what usually ends up happening is that we all end up with too much email in our inboxes because we are unnecessarily CCd by everyone. If you are in sales, be very cautious about the CC button. Are you letting your sales contacts in on information that should otherwise be kept within your company? The CC button should be used selectively and you should not use it as your default mode.

Know what your main point is, and stick to just that one point

How many times have you received an email with so many different topics/points that you forget to respond to the multiple subjects in the email? For maximum clarity, make one point per email and stick to it. When you are communicating with clients, keep your emails succinct and to the point. Focus on the one point and include any relevant information that drives home the point. Part of your job in customer service is to make your clients’ lives easier by making sure they have the information they need and that they can quickly find what they need from you.

It’s hard to sense sarcasm in an email

The things that you can communicate in face-to-face conversation do not always translate well in a writing context. Sarcasm, in particular, is easy to misinterpret, and people may end up feeling insulted if they read the email wrong. Remember, email is a professional medium and it needs to be treated as more of a formal letter than a casual one – especially with clients.

Remember your grammar and punctuation

Along the same lines of the previous point, emails should not be written too casually. Use proper grammar and punctuation and avoid using texting favorites such as “LOL,” or “IMO.” Email is not texting. If you wouldn’t use a word or phrase in a hand-written letter to a client, don’t include it in an email.

Don’t forward emails without an explanation

Email forwarding should generally be avoided – especially long chains of emails that force people to scroll down to the bottom to figure out the sequence of events so they can follow what is going on. Instead of forwarding emails, make life easier for your clients and colleagues by making your point clear in an email, summarizing what has been said by others, and if necessary, including any relevant email details by copying and pasting them into the bottom of your email.

Make a positive impression with email

Email is an integral part of how we all communicate in business, but make sure you don’t get sloppy with it or that it loses its professionalism. Set yourself and your company apart by taking the extra time to be careful about what goes into your emails and who receives them. Remember, great customer service is all in the details.