Email response time matters in any context but even more so while we work remotely. Covid-19 has forced many companies to embrace the idea of working from home in an attempt to practice social distancing and keep their employees safe. According to a recent survey conducted by Global Workplace Analytics, 82% of full-time employees in the United States said they prefer working remotely. This trend is expected to continue even after the pandemic.
As more people and organizations switch to working remotely, emails have become one of the most reliable and effective modes of communication among co-workers. They’ve made it possible for disparate teams to coordinate work efforts. The downside of using emails as the main tool for communication and collaboration is that the overall productivity of the entire team is affected when some people fail to respond to emails in a timely manner.
As a team leader, it is your duty to make sure everybody on the team receives and responds to emails immediately. Your team members also have to find simple ways to improve their email response time in order to enhance their productivity. In this article, we discuss important tips for improving your email response time when working remotely.
How to Improve Your Email Response Time When Working Remotely
Track Your Email Response Time
Many people don’t know how email response time affects their productivity and success in their work because they do not know how fast or slow they respond to emails. So, the first thing you need to do is to track your email response time. By understanding your response time, you will be able to measure your email productivity, as well as calculate your success in your work, especially if you do sales, marketing, or customer service.
According to a study done by Email Analytics, at least 35% of sales opportunities go to vendors who respond to emails first. It further revealed that the close rate increases 7 times when you respond within one hour. It also discovered that 90% of customers prefer to get an immediate response, which the majority of respondents defined as not more than ten minutes.
Another benefit of tracking your email response time is that it helps you to identify problems with your work, internal communications, and workload balance. Fortunately, there are many easy and effective tools for tracking your email response time. For instance, you can use Time To Reply to track your response time for customer service and sales tasks. This tracking tool turns your employees into high-performing email superstars, giving your customers the best experience.
By monitoring your email response time using a tracking tool like timetoreply, you will never miss important leads and customer emails, have 100 percent visibility of your employees’ email performance, and optimize email response time. One of the reasons why many people and organizations are using this tool is that it works with different emailing platforms including Gmail, MS Exchange, o365, Outlook, and IMAP. Also, it is not an application that requires installation, and it has some amazing features.
Create a Striking Subject
For other team members to open and read your emails immediately, you need to get their attention. You can do this by creating an eye-catching email subject. The same trick applies to your sales and customer service emails. If you are looking to get quick responses from potential leads and customers, you have to grab their attention with a compelling subject.
You also need to understand that people normally prioritize their email responses by relevance. So, if you want your workmates and clients to respond to your emails promptly, make sure that your email subjects are compelling enough and relevant to the recipients.
Use the BLUF Formula
BLUF stands for Bottom Line Up Front. This means that you have to put the most important message of your email in the first sentences. It is not professional to reveal the main intention of your email at the end because you are not writing a mystery novel.
As a professional working remotely, do not make the mistake of providing reasoning or building up to an ask when you are writing emails. Instead, make the ask known upfront and give the supporting reasoning later.
Set Clear Deadlines
When sending your emails remotely, make it clear to the intended recipient what you expect them to do and when you expect a response. Do not leave anything to chance, assuming the recipient understands what you expect of them. This includes giving them a due date, especially if you expect an immediate response.
When setting deadlines, it is important to make the reasonable in order to give the recipient ample time to respond appropriately. It should work for both of you. Also, do not spring out a deadline at the last minute because working from home means striking a balance between work and life.
Schedule Your Emails
Scheduling emails is a simple way of establishing team norms and expectations because it allows you to send emails to co-workers strictly during working hours. This enables employees working from home to juggle work and life, without having to cut short their time with family to respond to emails or accomplish other tasks.
It also helps you to control your emotions when you are emailing your employees and coworkers because you know when to expect a response. You need to understand that emails are not instant-messaging. Therefore, don’t expect instant replies from your employer or employees.
Create a Prerecorded Out-Of-Office Response
Since you won’t be sitting in front of your computer throughout the day, it is important to have a prerecorded out-of-office response that will be sent back to people who email you when you are away from your PC. This helps to manage people’s emotions by letting them know that you are not around.
Check Your Email Regularly
Sometimes we get so occupied with work and other tasks that we miss important emails from colleagues and clients. If you often forget to check your email, you should turn on the notifications. This informs you when you have a new email in your inbox, allowing you to read and respond to the email in real-time.
You should also schedule periods of time during your working hours when you can check your inbox and reply to emails. Just make sure that these periods do not affect your productivity. If you spend a lot of time checking your inbox and responding to emails, your stress levels will rise and your productivity will go down.
The overall message is pretty clear: get the right email response time tracking tools to help you calculate how fast or slow your responses are. It will give you deep insights into your team’s performance and ensure you do not miss important leads and messages. Also, you have to make your email subjects relevant and eye-catching in order to compel recipients to read and reply instantly.