10 Proven E-Mail Tips for Solving Problems with Your Copier / Printer VendorsHannah Recla
Social media and smartphones get most of the attention these days, but the fact is that email remains as primary means of doing business today. For school district administrators, purchasing directors and financial executives, email is the go-to way to communicate with your copier and printer vendors. While technology trends come and go, email works well in business because all parties involved have a written record throughout a process and forwarding and copying messages allows multiple people to stay in the loop.
But email has several downfalls to go along with its benefits. One disadvantage of email is that people tend to treat it like a conversation, not documentation. And because email recipients cannot see each other, the emails do not have any voice inflection or emotion that can help with proper interpretation. One survey conducted by Sendmail found that of all the communication technologies in the workplace, email is the most likely to create resentment between senders and receivers with 64 percent of working professionals saying it has caused tension, confusion, or other negative consequences for them at work.
10 Proven E-Mail Tips
With new rapid-fire ways to communicate, emails are on the decline for personal use; but not in business. Indeed, for school district administrators email is now more critical than ever, especially when it comes to resolving problems with your copier or printer vendors. But how do you avoid the pitfalls? Here are 10 tips for using e-mail effectively to resolve issues with your vendors:
- Include identifying information in your e-mail. If the issue is for a specific device, include the device’s make/model, serial number and vendor ID number. If the issue is for an invoice, a lease account, or some other contract or agreement, be sure to include the lease account number, etc.
- Make the purpose of your e-mail clear. Make it easy for your vendor to take action and include the purpose of your email as close to the top of the message as possible. Include your expectations, timelines and requirements for a proper resolution. Be sure to provide the receiver of your email with something concrete to respond to.
- Include sufficient history. If you’ve had conversation over the phone or in other emails, include enough information in so that the history of the issue is captured. This will help inform the people you are carbon-copying on the message and give you a good framework for managing the details of the issue as needed.
- Always include your phone number. Make it easy for your vendor to contact you. Don’t assume they have your contact information handy. Be sure to include your phone number and email address, and even your fax, so they have all the information they need to contact you at their fingertips.
- Make sure you have copied all interested parties. In our haste to take action and resolve a problem, it can be easy to forget to include everyone in the dialogue. Before you hit “send” be sure to consider all of the stakeholders involved and include a copy of your email to the appropriate people.
- Included any necessary attachments. It can be frustrating to have the resolution of a problem delayed because of “email tag.” To avoid wasting time with back-and-forth messages, be sure to check that all the information needed is attached.
- Proofread your email. Nothing undermines your concern or your arguments more than poor spelling and grammar, especially when you are involved with a difficult or tumultuous problem. It is a good idea to take a moment to proofread each email before you send; or even “sleep on it” to be sure that your message is both accurate and appropriate.
- File your email. After sending your email, file it in a folder where you’ll be able to easily locate it. It can be difficult and frustrating to have to wade through pages and pages of random sent-email to find that one message you need. It is a good practice to create folders and save your email strings. You never know when you’ll be thankful you did.
- Set yourself a reminder. Just because you sent an email doesn’t mean that your effort ends there. It’s easy to lose track and forget to follow up. One way to keep things moving forward productively is to send a notice to yourself, either through a calendar entry or an automated reminder that follow up is needed.
- Don’t rely completely on email. One rule of thumb is: “email, email, call”. If you don’t get a response after sending two emails, pick up the phone. Email is great, but oftentimes it will take a phone call follow up to really moving things along.
Use these ten tips to tip the scale in your favor when using email to resolve problems and issues with your copier and printer vendors. Email is still the best way to communicate effectively with everyone involved regardless of where they are situated and the best way to track and manage the dialogue and outcome of those conversations. These tips help you make the most of your efforts.
Since most of our communication is done by e-mail, we’re always on the lookout for resources that help us write effective e-mails. One resource we found especially helpful is E-Mail: A Write It Well Guide by Janis Fisher Chan.