Email Etiquette – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

There aren’t really any industries out there that don’t use email. It’s just a fundamental part of business life now, and it’s often the only way we can communicate. So love it or hate it, you’re stuck with it! Now personally, we love email. It’s a really useful tool, especially as we work virtually, and need a good, reliable way to communicate with our clients. We wouldn’t really be able to function as a VA business without it.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its niggles. More specifically, there are a few email habits that really grind our gears, and the gears of many other business owners out there as well! So today, we’re going to share our dos and don’ts of email etiquette with you – and what some of the worst offenders are!

Sending Emails At 5pm, And Chasing At 9am The Next Day

Let’s be honest, this is almost as bad as sending an email with bad news at 5pm on a Friday – which we all know is the ultimate sin. But sending emails late in the day and then demanding a response right away is never going to end well. For one thing, if your recipient works a traditional 9-5, then your email will probably arrive after they’ve left, and they won’t have even had time to read it by the time you’re chasing at 9am the next day, and they haven’t even sipped their morning coffee (or sat down at their desk). If your recipient works part-time, then it’s even worse, because you may well be chasing them on a day they aren’t working. Remember, just because we can all access work emails from our various devices anywhere at any time – not everyone does.

So if there’s something so urgent you need to chase before a full working hour has passed – either bring it up earlier or pick up the phone. Otherwise, maybe give it a day before you chase for a response.

No Signature Or Contact Info

Having an email signature, no matter how big or small your business is, looks professional, and shows how else people can contact you. As much as we love emails, phone calls are a really important tool too. Sometimes, especially in complicated issues, talking to someone about an email is much simpler, and can often clear things up quicker. And sometimes, it’s just nice to hear your voice and chat to you!

Creating a simple email signature with your contact info on it takes almost no time at all, and it can have such a big impact. For bonus points, you can also include your working hours in your signature, so that whoever is emailing knows when to expect a response from you. This sets expectations, makes you look professional, and builds positive relationships with your suppliers and customers.

No Auto-Reply

If you’re not in the office for any reason (aside from outside of office hours obviously), then it’s good practice to have an auto-reply on. It’s one of our biggest pet peeves, not knowing whether our email has been received, or knowing if someone is around, or if we’re sending multiple emails to someone who’s on holiday. After all, no one wants to come back to a long stream of emails! Autoresponder is an amazing tool, but there are so many people our there who don’t know how – or don’t want to use it.

If you have a day of meetings, will be out of the office for a chunk of time. are going on holiday, or even just need a few hours of completely uninterrupted work – then set your autoresponder to let people know. This manages expectations with anyone who contacts you, and stops everyone involved getting annoyed at your lack of response.

These are just a few of the email habits we see on a daily basis, and honestly we’re not a fan of them. And if you’ve got a bit irritated reading this blog, then you probably aren’t either! But if you’re guilty of some of these email sins, we can help.

At Starfish Admin Services, we offer a full inbox management service, so we can field basic enquires, book meetings into your diary and let you know which emails need your attention, so you can get more work done. We can also do things like set your autoresponders, deal with out of hours emails, and respond to emails in a timely and polite manner. All without you having to lift a finger. If you’re like to know more, please just get in touch with us to find out more.