Most business owners spend a great deal of time answering emails and drafting new ones. If you’re running a web design business or handling an online component of any kind, you’re going to spend even more time than the average business owner. The frustrating thing for many business owners is that they have probably feel they have more productive things to do.
If you ever feel that way, or if you just want to save some extra time, here are some tips for simplifying your email responses. You can do this with just a short amount of time upfront.
Streamline Your Labels and Filters
Depending on how organized you are, you may have dozens of labels for all areas of your business, web design projects, and relationships. However, despite the fact that these labels are intended to make life easier, the sorting function can actually take up more time. If you have labels for all of the subjects that your business covers such as “build website online” or “set up simple website templates,” you will have to filter all of the appropriate messages in. Instead, go through and streamline your labels and filters. Try to top it off at ten at the maximum. Then be ruthless in your application. You can always move things later. You just need to make sure that you are particularly strict with the spam and trash functions. Don’t hesitate to throw it out.
Set Up Stock Replies
One of the biggest time drains that most business owners run into when responding to emails is that they have already had to answer the same question. This becomes particularly true in the customer service department. Instead of going through and rewriting all of those messages, ask yourself if you could use a stock response. Prepare it in advance, or copy it from a previous email. Then copy and paste it into the body of your new email message. You can tweak it and add the personal touch if you need to, but this way you save yourself anywhere from 10 – 15 minutes.
To make it easier to find these messages, make sure to save them in separate documents. Keep the titles clear and concise. Avoid generic titles like “Stock Email 01.” That will not help you track it down. But a title like “Customer Service Complaint for Defect in Template Response” is specific enough to help you figure out what’s going on.
Set Up Auto Complete for Specific Phrases
It’s amazing how much time it can take to type out simple phrases over and over again. Take a moment to think of the things that you type out repeatedly such as your name and title or your address. You can save a significant amount of time by putting these into the auto complete. When you set up your email to replace a short phrase or set of symbols with the entire phrase, it can save you a great deal of time. Just be careful that you make a record of which short phrases go with which phrases.