Archive for October, 2015

Templates And Hints For The Perfect Email For Almost Every Situation – Week 6

Have you ever received an amazing email, one that you’d like to print out and pin to your wall, one that made you grin from ear to ear or slow-clap in appreciation and awe?

Now imagine that every email you send is as great as these occasional all-stars you receive. This week we see how a simple change in the language we use can have a profound effect on the impact we make:

 

Out with the “buts,” in with the exclamations

This one I’ve borrowed from our Chief Happiness Officer Carolyn who wrote about her removal of every instance of “but” and “actually” from her customer support emails.

With “but,” Carolyn removes the conjunction and replaces it with an exclamation point, splitting one compound sentence into two simpler ones.

Sentence 1: I really appreciate you writing in, but unfortunately we don’t have this feature available.

Sentence 2: I really appreciate you writing in! Unfortunately, we don’t have this feature available.

With “actually,” she removes the word entirely, often opting for a new word or phrase to open the sentence.

Sentence 1: Actually, you can do this under “Settings.”

Sentence 2: Sure thing, you can do this under “Settings!” 🙂

 

And with that, our series on email template comes to a close. Happy Emailing! If you’d like a reminder of all these techniques, check out fastcompany.com.

Templates And Hints For The Perfect Email For Almost Every Situation – Week 5

Have you ever received an amazing email, one that you’d like to print out and pin to your wall, one that made you grin from ear to ear or slow-clap in appreciation and awe?

Now imagine that every email you send is as great as these occasional all-stars you receive. This week we look at a better way to end your emails:

 

What to say instead of “Let me know if you have any questions”

Chris Gallo at Support Ops has an interesting, applicable way of looking at that all-so-common wrap-up to the emails we send. How do you end your conversations on email? Compare this with how you end conversations in real life. Gallo points out that none of us talk this way to our friends and family; why should we talk this way to our beloved customers? Perhaps the best example Gallo cites is this one:

If there is anything else you need, please let me know.

Should I need something else? Am I going to need something else soon? Are you saying that I’m needy?

Instead of the stock answers, try these questions, which sound more human and feel more conversational.

  • Does this help you?
  • Did that answer your question? And does it make sense?
  • Anything else that I can help with today?

I’ve been trying these new signoffs in my personal emails for the past couple weeks, and I will say that it can be a little disarming at first. Fortunately, it gets easier the more you use it. And I’ve had many meaningful conversations that I might not have had otherwise.

 

We’ve got even more awesome emails planned for next week, so stay tuned! We got this from fastcompany.com. You can visit them for more articles like this (and even some that aren’t like this), exploring topics even beyond email.

Templates And Hints For The Perfect Email For Almost Every Situation – Week 4

Have you ever received an amazing email, one that you’d like to print out and pin to your wall, one that made you grin from ear to ear or slow-clap in appreciation and awe?

Now imagine that every email you send is as great as these occasional all-stars you receive. This week we explore the best (and worst) words to use on an email to customers:

 

In The Customer Support Handbook: How to Create the Ultimate Customer Experience for Your Brand, Sarah Hatter describes in expert detail exactly which words and phrases should be used in a modern-day customer conversation (and which shouldn’t).

Empty words (Do not use)

  • Feedback
  • Inconvenience
  • This issue
  • That isn’t
  • This isn’t
  • We don’t
  • No
  • We’re unable to
  • I can’t

Full words (Use liberally)

  • Thank you!
  • I’m really sorry
  • This sucks
  • I know this is frustrating
  • You’re right
  • That’s a great idea!
  • Let me check and get back to you
  • Thanks for sharing your idea / thoughts / taking the time to help improve the product

Magic Phrases:

“You’re right.” “I’d love to help with this.” “I can fix this for you.” “Let me look into this for you.” “I’ll keep you updated.”

Power replies:

“You’re right, we could definitely do this better.” “Thanks for being open and honest about your experience so we can learn from it.” “I really appreciate you helping us improve our process—we don’t want this to happen again.” “I know this is a huge disruption to your day and I’m working to get it fixed.”

I had a chance to use the “disruption” line just today with a customer who had a less-than-ideal experience. I’m not sure if my choice of words was what won him over or not. I am happy to say that he was super pleased to receive my reply—nothing to sneeze at for a customer we might have wronged.

 

We’ve got even more awesome emails planned for next week, so stay tuned! We got this from fastcompany.com. You can visit them for more articles like this (and even some that aren’t like this), exploring topics even beyond email.

Templates And Hints For The Perfect Email For Almost Every Situation – Week 3

Have you ever received an amazing email, one that you’d like to print out and pin to your wall, one that made you grin from ear to ear or slow-clap in appreciation and awe?

Now imagine that every email you send is as great as these occasional all-stars you receive. This week we see if a great email can be as simple as one sentence:

 

Could it even be as simple as a sentence? Wharton professor Adam Grant has a pretty quick list of seven different sentences that might work to set boundaries on your work/home life. Here’s the list:

  • The Deferral: “I’m swamped right now, but feel free to follow up.”
  • The Referral: “I’m not qualified to do what you’re asking, but here’s something else.”
  • The Introduction: “This isn’t in my wheelhouse, but I know someone who might be helpful.”
  • The Bridge: “You two are working toward common goals.”
  • The Triage: “Meet my colleague, who will set up a time to chat.”
  • The Batch: “Others have posed the same question, so let’s chat together.”
  • The Relational Account: “If I helped you, I’d be letting others down.”

Of these seven, I’ve had a chance to try Nos. 1 and 3 just in the past week. The first felt great, as it truly was an opportunity I was excited to pursue yet the timing just wasn’t ideal. Sentence No. 3 felt just as good; had I committed, I would have been way in over my head. So not only was I able to set a boundary, I was able to ensure that the work was completed the best way possible.

 

We’ve got even more awesome emails planned for next week, so stay tuned! We got this from fastcompany.com. You can visit them for more articles like this (and even some that aren’t like this), exploring topics even beyond email.

The Global Economy in September

Global markets suffered another blow of volatility in September, with emerging markets taking the brunt of the impact. Fears over deteriorating economic conditions in China, Brazil and Russia have led to large capital outflows from emerging markets so far this year. Continued concerns of a US rate hike added to the pressure on emerging market currencies across the board, with the Brazilian Real, South African Rand and the Turkish Lira falling to record lows. The Malaysian Ringgit fell to a new 1998 low.

Global monetary policy took different directions this month. The continued volatility in global financial markets prompted the US Federal Reserve to, once again, hold rates, defying market expectations of a rate hike in September. The Reserve Bank of India surprised markets with a greater-than-expected rate cut. Kazakhstan’s Central Bank raised its interest rate to stem its currencies volatility after moving to a free floating exchange rate. Norway’s Central Bank, on the other hand, cut rates in September, causing the Krone to fall to a 13-year low. The move boosted the Swiss Franc, Yen and the Euro, as investors sought haven assets. Russia held rates for the first time this year, indicating that the severity of the Rubles plunge was taking precedence over the nations worsening recession. Russia’s attempts to prop up the Ruble have withered its reserves, prompting the government to change a fundamental aspect of how it prepares its budget in a bid to preserve its reserves.

Following the devaluation of the Yuan, Chinese authorities were also seen intervening in currency markets, in an effort to create stability in the wake of its new currency regime. Such intervention, however, came at the cost of China’s reserves, which fell $94 billion in August. Policy insiders say that they were surprised by the global reaction to the devaluation and would seek to keep the Yuan on a tight leash in the near term to prevent a currency war.

The Euro-Area was hit with its first spate of deflation in six months, re-enforcing expectations that the European Central Bank (ECB) would expand its stimulus program. The ECB itself had downgraded its outlook for the area, citing a continued but weaker recovery, while re-iterating its willingness to act should economic conditions warrant such a decision.

 

Templates And Hints For The Perfect Email For Almost Every Situation – Week 2

Have you ever received an amazing email, one that you’d like to print out and pin to your wall, one that made you grin from ear to ear or slow-clap in appreciation and awe?

Now imagine that every email you send is as great as these occasional all-stars you receive. This week is all about emails that help you say ‘No’:

 

Elizabeth Grace Saunders, a time coach and trainer, shared a series of snippets for saying no in a post published on 99U. She seemingly had a “no” snippet for any scenario. Here are a few of my favorites.

When you receive perpetual last-minute requests:

I would love to help you out, but I already made commitments to other (coworkers, clients, etc.) to complete their projects today. It wouldn’t be fair to them to not follow through on what I said I would do. I will be sure to fit this in as soon as possible. Thanks for your understanding.

When people ask you about everything instead of directly contacting the appropriate person:

That’s not my area of expertise. I would be happy to connect you with someone who could best help you solve this problem.

When you’re given an exceptionally short deadline:

I know this project is a high priority for you, and if it’s absolutely necessary for me to turn something in by that date, I can make it happen. But if I could have a few more (days, weeks, etc.), I could really deliver something of higher quality. Would it be possible for me to have a bit more time?

When asked to do something optional that you can’t commit to right now:

I appreciate you thinking of me, and I’m honored by the request. But unfortunately, I don’t have the time to give this my best right now. I think you would benefit from finding someone who can devote more time and energy to this project.

 

We’ve got even more awesome emails planned for next week, so stay tuned! We got this from fastcompany.com. You can visit them for more articles like this (and even some that aren’t like this), exploring topics even beyond email.