how my signature file keeps me polite

Being a web designer/programmer, most of my business communications are done through email.

I receive literally hundreds of emails a day, and sometimes I am emailing back and forth to a client repeatedly while also trying to get done the programming on my plate. Now this in itself is probably not a great practice – I should have a time set aside just for email where I can give it 100% of my attention, but life comes at you from all directions in my field, and a client who has a burning question, or who has forgotten the log in to their content management system sometimes needs immediate assistance.

Looking at my emails several years back, I realized that when I made quick replies to client questions, I often forgot the basic courtesies that should be part of a professional correspondence: “Hello” and “Sincerely”. My rushed emails, bereft of the greeting and signature, appeared abrupt and rude in some cases.

I don’t want to be rude or abrupt to my clients. I may feel like I’m racing the clock in that moment and feel rush rush rushed.. but that doesn’t excuse sending a communication off without courtesy. My clients sometimes only know me through the emails that we exchange, so those emails inform their opinion of me and their experience doing business with me.

To stop this unintentional rudeness, I created a signature file for my emails that automatically appears on the email no matter what: when I create a new email, or when I hit reply. That signature actually contains the “Hi” at the beginning of it, as well as the “sincerely” and all my contact information at the end. That way I am forced to stop and look at it and write the name of my client after the “Hi”. On every email, I greet them by name, and on every email, they have my full name and all of my contact information.

Just the act of writing their name at the top often slows me down enough to make a more thoughtful reply than I might have if I was just typing a quick response and hitting the send button.

The last thing that I want to do is beĀ  rude or abrupt. Communication is the groundwork for creating successful websites.

Below I have links to tutorials on how to set up custom signatures in different mail programs:

Outlook: http://www.ehow.com/how_4500972_set-up-outlook-signature.html

Thunderbird: http://www.ehow.com/how_4442853_create-signature-thunderbird-email.html

Mac Mail: http://oit.pdx.edu/how-to-mac-mail-signature

Gmail: http://www.ehow.com/how_4665440_add-signature-gmail.html

If you know any tips for setting up signatures in your email programs, please share them in the comments.

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