Read your email

Once or twice a month, I use email to interact with a customer service rep or technical support rep from a company. I’ve sent emails about everything from my tax return software to business insurance. In about half of all cases, the email I receive from the customer service team blatantly ignores the email I sent.

I don’t mean that I got a generic response. I mean that the rep never took the time to read and understand my message. For example, when I emailed Quicktax about using their tax return software when I needed to show a change of home business locations, I got a long (and irrelevant) email about writing off moving expenses for people moving to go to university or a new job. Even though I’d mentioned the exact business tax return form and used the term "business use of home", the rep sent a completely irrelevant email.

As a small business owner, you’ll receive email from clients, vendors, partners and contacts. Take the time to read each email carefully. Don’t glance down the email, see one word and dash off a response. If you really want to market on a one-to-one basis, you need to make sure every communication is relevant. Otherwise, you’re not only wasting your time, you’re risking entire relationships — between the recipient and you, your company and your brand. Read carefully. Write slowly. It matters.