It’s in an Email Somewhere!

On October 18th, 2011, posted in: BIZ-TIP by 0 Comment

Do you fall into this trap? You’re emailing a client or an associate about one thing and then the topic changes to something else. You may even have two chains of emails descending from the original email. At the moment it’s received, you’re very clear about the next step. A few days later when you are ready to implement what the emails dealt with, you’re not so sure. Now you can’t find the information easily, but you know it’s in one of the messages somewhere.

What’s the solution for this dilemma? Here are some thoughts:

  • Keep a file in your email program for each client, prospect and associate. File everything in the appropriate file.
  • Use subject lines that are descriptive enough to let you know what the message is about. “Update” is too general. “Inventory adjustment” is more specific.
  • When critical information is received or decision made in an email, change the subject line to reflect that and email to yourself to store in your clients file. You can include DECISION REGARDING or ACTION REQUIRED.
  • Send a summary email that itemizes all the key points so it’s all in one easily accessible email. This is great for clarifying and gaining consensus.
  • Use ACT or some other contact management program to copy and paste key communications as part of the contact’s permanent record.

If you don’t currently have a system for dealing with this vital area of business communications, now is a good time to start one. As virtual accountants with a virtual staff, I really need to keep up on all of my electronic communications!

P.S.  I’ll be speaking on Best External Practices for Ethical Business for the Better Business Bureau Center for Character Ethics on November 3, 2011 from 11 am to 12:30 pm. To register, visit www.arizona.bbb.org/abseminar. Hope to see you there!

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