Why are Emails so Rarely Positively Outrageous Service®?
“WOW, I didn’t expect that! That’s positively outrageous!”
That’s a rare comment in response to an email.
Why is that?
Research indicates that 7 percent of a message is derived from the words,
38 percent from the intonation, and
55 percent from the facial expression or body language.
~ Study by Albert Mehrabian, UCLA psychology professor emeritus
Effective communication requires context, not just content. Since emails are words alone, the vast majority of your message is lost. Without any data other than words—typically, few words—the meaning of an email is shaped by the recipient’s feelings. Consequently, the words communicated have little to do with what the sender desired to share.
Recently we gave you three tips to elevate your emails and inject them with Positively Outrageous Service:
- Personalize it.
- Proof it.
- Power it up with a Positively Outrageous Service close — something fun, random, or beyond their expectations.
So here’s a few more. Remember, the pen is mightier than the sword. Use these tips well.
- Certainty. Read an incoming email twice. It’s so frustrating to get a response where it’s clear the recipient didn’t correctly read the initiating email. You detest that, we’re sure — don’t be guilty of the same thing! Your response elevates if the recipient is certain that you read it accurately and understand the intent behind their email. Certainty comes from reading the incoming email twice.
- Clarity. Most people don’t realize there are only three types of emails that you send or receive.
- Request for information – We call them RFIs.
- An FYI — you are giving information or receiving it.
- Call to Action. CTA. Someone wants action from you, or you are requesting an action from another. So make it clear in your subject line.
The subject line must communicate/summarize in one sentence which of the three it is and what action or information is being conveyed or requested. We suggest you write your subject line last — we guarantee it will be way better after you’ve written the body.
BTW, don’t verbally vomit on people in your email. It’s not an essay. It’s better to send three short emails than one long email where you’re giving information, asking for information, requesting action, and following up blah, blah, blah — they will have stopped reading it after the first two paragraphs guaranteed. If they even got that far!
- Candor. Customers appreciate candor. If it’s a problem email you receive – don’t forget the megaton of emotion behind it. That emotion can escalate, explode, or you have the superpower to extinguish it. Take responsibility — show understanding of their feelings and not just the problem itself — be candid, empathetic. Remember, emotional appeal outweighs logic every time! Pathos comes before Logos!
- Tell them how you’re going to make it better.
- Perhaps you need to ask clarifying questions.
- Inform them of subsequent steps — even it’s just that you will give them an update in three hours.
- Your approach to the solution.
- Does it need to be forwarded elsewhere? And, you will follow up because you have taken ownership.
That is Positively Outrageous Service! And your customer, colleague, or teammate is probably not expecting that!
So to summarize — three more tips to power up your Positively Outrageous Service in your emails.
- Certainty comes from reading their email twice.
- Clarity flows from clear subject lines, so the recipient knows it’s an RFI, an FYI or Call to Action, and the one-sentence summary of the email’s content.
- Candor is a powerful emotion that changes the experience when done well — especially when you get a problem that requires action. Don’t forget the feeling that is behind that person’s situation.
Remember, the pen is mightier than the sword — communicating effectively in the written word is challenging but done well can create a Positively Outrageous Service experience for the recipient — because in reality, so few people do it well! There’s your opportunity to distinguish yourself!
We look forward to you becoming Positively Outrageous in your emails!
Please send us your ideas on how you’re making your POSing your emails!