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The Indefinite Article.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Email Etiquette

Customer service situation: Person emails me to change their email address and I am responding. The name on the account says Billy. The name on the email header says Bill. He did not make a salutation in the email request. What name do I use in the greeting of my email?

In retrospect, I could have gone for the formal last name. However, in this circumstance, I chose Bill, since that is the name that the email referred to.


  • I would have just said,
    Thank you for your request
    or something like that
    not addressing any name at all

    that's me

    cold and to the point

    By Blogger CarolinaDivina, at 10:11 AM  

  • Yeah, i agree; why address the person at all? In purely customer servie terms, it's not like you're folding up his pants and putting them neatly in a bag, or handing him back a credit card receipt {Thank you for shopping with us Mr. Trudeau.}

    By addressing someone like that in an email you might as well also ask how their kids are doing. Why pretend that you know them , or even want to know them at all, especially when they're doing something they prolly regard as being done automatically by some unfeeling machine?

    Save the hugs and kisses for your donors. ha!

    By Blogger Killy, at 11:04 AM  

  • I think that if you are taking the time to personally respond to the customer's email you might as well address them directly. It is a great touch that really enhances the customer's experience.

    As to address them as 'Billy' or 'Bill' I think you definitely want to go with 'Bill'. It is better to come across as overly formal, than overly familiar.

    By Blogger pablo, at 12:19 PM  

  • Bill.

    By Blogger taggart, at 3:04 PM  

  • For the longest time, I have been using an autotype in Word (as my email editor) to format every first reply with:

    Hi ,

    Thank you for your interest in MS Bike Tours.

    Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

    Best regards,
    Adolph Trudeau

    Development Director
    National MS Society - Lonestar Chapter
    713 526 8967

    I just toss in the name and add a sentence ora few in response. The "Hi" is meant to keep it friendly, the "Thank you," is to express appreciation, the "Please let me know" is to encourage them to reply back if they think of anything else. While it is a form letter, it is one made from writing all those things over and over again to countless numbers of people.

    In some ways, including all of this information is pretty superfluous. However, I'm really never certain who is on the other end of the line (so to speak) and what their mental frame of reference is. Thus, my approach is to spell what might be thought of as understood or unnecessary. For me, this is important because practically everyone I interact with is either a donor (worth $x donation) or a event participant (worth n donors * $x donation). Each one may not literally be a VIP, but all have the potential to be one.

    Another way I have approached this is to just leave the greeting as "Hi,".

    By Blogger Adolph, at 6:01 PM  

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