Sometimes I have to take away a customer’s computer to carry out a detailed investigation of a complicated or long-winded problem. Once I’ve discovered what’s going on, I like to send the customer an e-mail to report my findings in detail. Telephoning a customer to let them know what’s happening can catch them at an inconvenient time, or confuse them if I go into too much detail, and they don’t have any record that they can review later when they’re thinking about what to do next. Putting everything in writing means the customer has a record of what they’ve been told, and can read it repeatedly, if they want, in order to understand what’s going on.
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to writing, and my e-mails are usually written as formal letters, and never with any ‘text-speak’ or emojis. Most people write informal e-mails, but I still start the majority of mine with ‘Dear Ms. Thing’ or ‘Dear Mr. Thing’ and end them with ‘Yours sincerely’. Unfortunately, a lot of my e-mails end up in customers’ ‘junk’ folders for some reason. Maybe it’s because a lot of scam e-mails are written the same way. However, whatever is going on, I think the people who write junk-filtering software need to be much more careful about distinguishing between junk and genuine e-mails. I recently wrote an important e-mail to a customer whose e-mail address is at ‘aol.com’. After several days had passed with no response, I asked the customer what was going on, and sure enough, my e-mail had gone into his ‘junk’ folder. Thank you very much AOL.