Digital KnowHow

Helping businesses and charities improve their digital skills.

Using Email

Tagged as: GuideDigital

Using emailEmail gives current and potential customers a constant point of contact with your business. 78% of SMEs reported time saving benefits due to digital services such as email.*


  • The benefits
  • How to do it
  • Case study
  • Useful links
 

The benefits

Save time on everyday communications

Cut down the amount of time and resource you spend going back-and-forth with clients, partners and customers by using email for routine communication.

Improve your record keeping

Store and organise your emails easily by placing your on-going communications into different folders and archiving conversations for future reference.

Deliver better customer service

Meet and exceed your customers' or benefactors' expectations by answering their complaints and queries quickly, via email.

Save money and be more environmentally friendly

Using email will reduce the amount of paper you need to run your company, cutting costs and decreasing your carbon footprint.

Use it as legal proof

Protect your company by communicating on a platform that's legally binding. In certain circumstances, emails can be used in court as evidence when dealing with business disputes.

How to do it

Choose a free or paid email option

When you use a free email service, such as Gmail or Yahoo your email will look something like me@gmail.com. For a more professional solution, use a paid service like Google Apps for Business or Microsoft Office Outlook which will allow you to use your website, so your email address looks something like me@mycompany.com.

Sign-up

Once you've chosen your provider, the sign up process will ask you to complete a form, and downloading any software if necessary. Here is an overview of what you can expect:

  • Free, basic email address - You'll likely be asked to provide your name, birthday, and the country you're located. You can also choose how your email address appears (me@gmail.com or mycompany@gmail.com) and a password to keep your account secure.
  • Paid email account - You will have to fill out a registration form as with the free account. You will also need to link your email to your website, so your address looks like me@mycompany.com. This will involve contacting the company that hosts your domain name (mycompany.com). Depending on how your website was created, it may be easy to do this yourself, but you may choose to hire a professional web developer or IT specialist to help.

 

Introduce email etiquette into your company

Develop an email policy to ensure you and your staff use the tool appropriately. Here area some best practices to follow:

  • Standard response times - Aim to acknowledge customer emails as soon as possible, even if you need more time to come back with an answer. Standard response times will vary from a couple hours to a couple days, depending on the nature of your business, but as a general rule of thumb: the quicker, the better. For internal emails, respond according to the urgency of the request, or as promptly as possible.
  • Friendly, professional tone of voice - Unlike face to face conversations, the recipient can't read your tone of voice or expression. So it's important to use clear and polite language to ensure your organisation comes across as professional and welcoming. To protect your company's reputation, contentious conversations are best done the traditional way, face-to-face, since emails records can be kept as proof.
  • Proper email formatting - Start all email conversations with a greeting and end all emails with a Thank You, Regards or alternate closing phrase and your name. Consider adding further information such as business name, address and phone number to give the recipient alternate way to get in touch.

 

Use email management tools

Advanced tools can increase the efficiency and professionalism of your business communication. Here are some tools that are available from most email providers, and information on how to use them should be available in the 'Help' menu.

  • Email signatures - Create a custom 'signature' with contact details and company logo to appear automatically at the end of every email you send.
  • Out-of-office replies - Create a message in advance to be automatically sent as a reply to those who email you while you're away.
  • Schedule meetings through the email provider's calendar - Use your email's calendar to check your colleagues' availability and set-up meetings that everyone can attend.
  • Label emails and file them into separate folders - Similar to files on your computer, you can label emails by category and place them into different folders so you can easily access them in future.
  • Archive emails - Preserve important emails for future reference by archiving them for safekeeping. Doing so reduces the amount of storage used up by your email without permanently deleting any items.

 

Keep your company's data secure

Use email security tools and follow specific email protocol to help ensure your company's sensitive data remains safe and secure.

  • Avoid clicking on email attachments that seem suspicious or that have been sent from untrustworthy sources.
  • You can set up 'spam' filters and choose the intensity of security levels to help eliminate harmful links and email attachments making their way to your company email accounts.
  • Change your email passwords regularly.
  • Sign into your email account under a secure, trusted Internet connection, such as at home or work rather than a café for example.
  • You can set up a password for sensitive files and documents before sending them via email, so that the receiver must enter it to gain access.

 

Please note that these are just examples of the types of email providers available and Lloyds Banking Group does not endorse the services they provide.

Create Branded Emails using our Business ToolBox

Fusemail

Lloyds Bank business customers can register for our Business ToolBox with a 30-day free trial. It features Fusemail, a cloud-based email solution that lets you create personalised email addresses with your own domain and organise your diary and appointments with the interactive calendar and task manager.

Benefits

Large storage capacity – our email packages allow up to 100GB of storage in your mailboxes.

Personalised emails – get professional branded email addresses.

Secure – spam, anti-virus protection and email encryption options.

Get your 30-day free trial of Business ToolBox, available to Lloyds Bank business customers and those in the process of opening an account.

Start your 30-day free trial of our Business ToolBox

Case study

McRail Construction

"It might sound obvious but being able to respond to clients via email at any time of the day means we can provide them with an even better level of service, which makes all the difference for us." - Director, McRail.

http://www.mcrail.co.uk
Twitter: @McRailQuality

About McRail Constructions

A Civil Engineering and Groundworks company based in Greenford, Middlesex, McRail has been established since 2012, with a steadily growing business. This is based on building up a substantial client base through both repeat and new business. The company specialises in Civil Engineering, Groundworks, Concrete Frames, Drainage, Foundations and Earthworks.

A traditional business, a lot of their work is based on direct personal recommendations which are reliant on them providing first class service to clients and responding to their requirements accurately and in a timely manner.

Success Online

As a result of moving more activity online, McRail noticed many benefits, including:

  • An ability to support clients almost 24/7 by ensuring key colleagues were available online to respond to queries
  • An increase in available face-to-face client time, as a result of dealing with simpler queries online
  • Introduction of Twitter to keep clients up-to-date with McRail developments, clients, projects and achievements

Patrick, Director, commented on what digital has meant for their growth:

“It frees up time for us to focus on what we should be focusing on – time with clients and making sure we deliver the best service. We really couldn’t do that without having email and other technology firmly embedded within the company. 98% of our customers say they would work with us again and recommend us to others.”

Useful links

For further information about setting up and using email, you can visit pages listed below.

Clicking on these links will take you to pages on other websites.

Email for businesses:
www.enterpriseitguide.com/working-together/email-for-business/  

Protecting important data:
www.enterpriseitguide.com/security/protecting-important-data/  

Get certified by Google at The Digital Garage with free online courses:https://digitalgarage.withgoogle.com/certification.

Understanding Email:
https://www.learnmyway.com/courses/using-email/.

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