After nearly 50 years of existence, email remains one of the most important and widely used forms of communication throughout the world. While services such as Slack have been touted as “email killers”, realistically it is a communication method that isn’t going away. It’s estimated that 2.5 billion users actively communicate by email, sending more than 205 billion emails every single day, with both figures growing with each passing year. With the popularity of email growing consistently, especially in the workplace, it has become clear that many people are still unsure of how to maximize their email productivity - which is easy to do by implementing some of the following practices.
1. Schedule Time to Check and Respond to Emails
Many employees attempt to manage their email inboxes in real time, responding to emails as they arrive with an acknowledgment and a promise to respond shortly - generally something along the lines of “I received your email, and will get back to you shortly”. This type of response may seem like a good idea at the moment, but usually leads to responses being forgotten, and valuable time and concentration being wasted.
Instead of checking and responding to emails haphazardly, set aside a few blocks of time to check and respond to important emails - usually the most useful times would be at the start of the day, after lunch, and before the end of the day. If an email is a high priority but you do not have the time to respond immediately, then a quick response indicating when you will respond is appropriate. Gmail has recently launched a feature which allows users to “snooze” emails, helping G Suite users be more productive by focusing on high priority emails immediately and snoozing lower priority emails until you have time to respond - helping your inbox stay better organized.
2. Keep it Short, Sweet, and to the Point
With so many daily duties and distractions taking up the time of modern-day employees, it’s more important than ever before to keep it short and simple. If an email doesn’t have to be more than a sentence or two, then that’s exactly how it should be - keeping it short and to the point will ensure that the point gets across and that you’re more likely to receive the response you’re looking for. If you need an immediate or specific response from somebody, then it’s important that you make that explicit in your message and ask for it in the first sentence or subject line of your email.
It is also important to follow the rule of one email, one issue - you may have noticed that when you try to cram a number of questions or items into one email, only one or a couple actually get dealt with. This is because people typically skim email and can miss important things when they do so. On your end, you can be sure to read emails carefully and ensure that all questions are answered, but when sending emails to clients it is best to keep to the “one email, one issue” rule - even if it means sending multiple emails.
3. Use Rules, Reminders, and Other Features
Many users know about their ability to use rules and reminders in their inbox, but don’t actually put them to use. Setting rules in your inbox will help to automatically organize and sort incoming emails, based on your preferred guidelines. Using these handy features can greatly increase productivity by sorting low priority messages like newsletters or articles into easily searchable folders that will leave your higher priority inbox uncluttered. Using custom reminders available in platforms like Gmail can help alert you to respond to emails that do not require immediate responses, allowing you to focus on high priority tasks while still getting around to lower priority messages in a manner that better fit your busy schedule.
4. Ensure Email and Calls are Integrated into Your CRM
In our hyper-connected world, customers may use multiple methods of contacting a company. Sending a tweet, then emailing and sometimes even calling is not unheard of, particularly if a client has a critical issue or an immediate need. If you have a CRM such as SugarCRM, Salesforce or Zoho, you can integrate all methods of communication - social media, calls, and email - so that you can see all contacts made under one customer record. A best practice after getting an email then becomes opening the customer record in your CRM to see if another team member has dealt with the issue and if not, then dealing with it yourself. This way time isn’t wasted by having multiple employees deal with the same issue. Please note that calls can’t be integrated into a CRM unless you have a VoIP business phone solution such as Vonage Business, which UpCurve Cloud can help you to install and integrate with your CRM and email.
5. Measure and Assess Team Productivity
For managers who are concerned about the email productivity of team members, solutions like Prodoscore exist to measure productivity in an unobtrusive and easy to digest manner. Prodoscore helps managers to assess the productivity of their team by assigning each employee with a unique “productivity score” based on time spent in integrated software solutions like business email, customer relationship management solutions, productivity suites, and more. These productivity scores allow managers to address concerns about an employee’s email productivity as they arise, especially if they are spending too much time each day responding to or sending emails.
With email remaining one of the most popular methods of workplace communication, it’s more important than ever before to ensure that you and your team are using the medium in a productive manner. By scheduling appropriate blocks of time to read and address emails, keeping messages short and to the point, taking advantage of inbox rules, reminders, and other unique features, and using productivity management solutions like Prodoscore, you and your team will be able to leverage email communication more effective, and make the most of your valuable time in the workplace.
For more information on how UpCurve Cloud can help your business implement measures to increase workplace email productivity through G Suite, Prodoscore, and other cloud-based unified workflow solutions contact us today.