It’s the Little Things8 Dec, 2009 By: Carla Nasse imageSource
It’s the Little Things
After a dedicated search for the right company with the right opportunity,
I started a new job this month. It was worth the wait as the opportunities
here are boundless. While I’ve been settling in and learning the new products
and their benefits, I’m learning the roles of my teammates and the company’s
corporate philosophy. Then there are the little things. While I was setting up
my new email signature block it dawned on me that it is often the little things
that add up that make a big difference. Make sure they all count.
First impressions are important, so little things such as using one of the
styles of “e-signature blocks” that you’ve seen for emails should be considered
for your own business communication. It must professionally represent you and
your company’s “demeanor” to some degree. They can range from too casual and
oddly colorful (from a business perspective) to very straight laced and/or long
or “verbose.” Of course there is key information that should be included, at
the very least. The block should include (this goes for digital and most print)
your name and all the standard stuff so people can contact you. It needs your
title, address, fax and phone numbers, but where do you go from there? Is there
a good protocol depending on the market you’re in?
IT'S IN THE FORMATTING
For attorneys or those that are overly cautious, there is something called
the “Disclaimer Block.” You’ve seen it, but have you taken the time to actually
read it? It’s over 80 words long! In effect it is:
This electronic message is intended only for the individual or entity to
which it is addressed and may contain information that is confidential and
protected by law. If you are not the intended recipient of this e-mail, you are
cautioned that use of its contents in any way is prohibited and may be
unlawful. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the
sender immediately by e-mail or telephone and/or return the original message by
e-mail to the sender. Thank you.
Basically it’s “caution: use (or read) at your own risk.” I’m not advocating
the use of this shorter statement as a means to relieve responsibility, but
something shorter would be my disclaimer choice!
How about the logo on a block that includes a “green” tagline or philosophy.
Usually it’s a graphically designed logo of a green tree on a hill with some
eco-insight or statement under it. I’ve seen quite a few variations. Most
actually show a sense of responsibility:
- Reduce paper waste to spare trees.
- Consider the environment before printing this
- Printing personal emails makes Al Gore cry. Text
Most businesses use signature blocks that include the company’s logo or
lettering. It’s a great way to continue building the brand recognition that we
all strive for on a daily basis. It creates familiarity with
business associates that you communicate with regularly. Don’t forget to include
the link of your corporate website. Today, this is often more important than the
fax number as a company’s website is an electronic sales tool 24/7, and is
today’s best “calling card.” And the more hits your company’s website gets, the
higher it will come up on an Internet search. Remember, it’s the little things
that add up…especially individual daily Web hits!
As for signature blocks in general, some have totally missed an opportunity
by just placing their name as the sender, relying on their email address as the
primary greeting. That’s fine if it’s a personal note, but when it’s business –
your business - less is not more. Granted, you may not want to include the
full signature block for a repeated reply (such as for an ongoing discussion)
but you can usually set that reply feature up in your tool bar. Don’t assume a
name is enough in business; that is way too casual!
All this doesn’t mean that you can’t have some fun or mix in some creativity,
depending on the markets you’re in. There are a couple of things that you can do
to make your block stand out without giving an air of being overly casual. There
are symbols for phone, mail, and fax that can be used instead of just spelling
them out. These add eye-catching interest & break up all block text. Also,
consider using two compatible colors to add impact; i.e., the company name in
red; all the other text in black. Any more than two colors usually looks
child-like (Crayola box, anyone?).
GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE
It’s easy to have several signature blocks available to use and easy to
change them. Do you send thank you notes to customers /decision makers after an
install? Would you do that more often if it were easy? Simply make a signature
block called “Install Thank You.” Start with your standard signature block.
Copy and paste that into a new signature. At the beginning of the block, add
the text that is the body of your thank you note. If you want to leave a blank
space to place the product that was purchased, go ahead. It will make it a
little more personal. See, now your thank you note is ready and waiting for a
quick send when you need it! Typically, just after the installation and
training are complete, you’ll want to send your custom thank you email. Simply
click on “New” to start the designated email process. Right click anywhere in
the signature block. A window will come up with a choice of the signature
blocks that you have created. Now click on “Install Thank You.” Add the email
address for the person you are sending it to. Fill in the blank if you left one
for the product that was purchased. Hit “Send.” In less than 10 seconds you’re
done! Think about other emails that you send often each week. Create a
signature block for them as well.
With these tips, your signature block not only let’s people know from whom the
email came, but it’s building good customer service follow though that your
competitors may have forgotten to do. Remember that you are building
relationships as well as brand awareness, even with what appears a mundane
task. If you’re now wondering what my own signature block looks like, you are
welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, it’s the little things that add up that make a big difference.
Carla Nasse is the Manager of Channel Development for DocuLex, Inc. and
can be reached at 863-297-3681 or