Internal Customer Email Etiquette-10 Recommendations

Dr. Ryan Giffen

Research indicates on average; one employee wastes 7 hours of productivity per week in unnecessary or poor use of electronic mail.  For a company of 165-employees averaging $28.00 per hour/employee, that's a loss of $32,340 per week or $1,681.680 per year on unnecessary email usage.  Moreover, research also indicates that email communication (for most topics) is miscommunicated and thus misinterpreted.  This results in negative work culture and likely lead to conflict among work teams.  It’s no wonder why some companies have banned the use of internal email completely.  The following ten recommendations should be considered for organizations wishing to increase productivity, morale, and profitability.

1. Before you begin to compose an email, ask yourself, “can I get what I need by researching or by calling someone?” A phone call or a small walk to an employees’ office will take less time overall.  Therefore, moving forward, call or visit someone’s office unless the email is necessary.

2. Before sending the email, ask yourself, “would I write this on company letterhead and place in the mail for the sender?” If the answer is “No,” do not send.  Utilize a different form of communication.  Company email is the company letterhead. If you decide that the email may be appropriate for company letterhead, then proceed to place in a company email.  Just remember, when you send an email, assume it’s not confidential, so write accordingly.  Moreover, email's can be subpoenaed and used in a court of law.

3. Think twice before using “reply all.” Refrain from hitting “reply all” unless you truly believe all persons in the ‘to’ and ‘cc’ fields will benefit out of necessity in reading your email to all.

4. When using the “cc” feature, assume the person in the “cc” category will not reply. CC is designed to simply keep the appropriate party’s informed.  As such, do the persons in the CC category really need to be CC’d?

5. Refrain from using exclamation marks and/or all caps. This could be perceived by the receiver as you attacking them.  Thus, they become upset, emotional, or immature.

6. All persons (whether the internal or external customer) perceive your communication (written, verbal, non-verbal) differently. Therefore, you should tailor the message to the receiver’s background.  Yes, this takes more time and work, but you will get the message correct the first time.  Always communicate to how the person needs to hear it, not how you think they need to hear it.

7. Proofread every message. Do not be lazy. Remember, an email is company letterhead.  Do not rely on spell-checkers.  Consider purchasing and installing “” if you feel your writing skills could use improvement.

8. Consider utilizing other tools that will cut down on the volume of volleying emails. For example, Microsoft Teams is an excellent tool for work teams that can chat, collaborate on documents, and all be on the ‘same page.'

9. When an employee is on vacation, do not send them an email. Who want’s to come back to an email Inbox of 400 messages?  This entirely defeats the purpose of a company investing in a vacation time policy.  Vacation time is designed for employees to relax and recharge.  Although sending the email is convenient for the sender, it’s not convenient for the receiver and is considered disrespectful.  Therefore, utilize two options: (1) wait and send the email sometime upon their return or (2) utilize the “delay delivery” feature in Outlook to have the email sent at a later date, upon their return.

10. Similar to step nine, refrain from sending emails between Friday 4 pm to Monday 6 am. Your Monday morning will be more enjoyable when not having to sift through 100 emails sent between that time frame.

About Dr. Ryan Giffen

With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Ryan Giffen is an expert in human relations and business culture. His career began in hospitality, leading operations and human resource departments for Fortune 500 companies and the like. Not long after, Ryan found his passion for teaching and consulting. He earned a Ph.D. in Hospitality Management with a Human Resources focus from Iowa State University and now works as an assistant professor at California State University, Long Beach. For over a decade, he continues to research and speak on organizational culture, relationship intelligence, and leadership effectiveness. Ryan is also the founder of Inospire, a company helping bosses and employees build stronger relationships with one another.  Lastly, Dr. Giffen is producer and host of the Corporate Shadow Podcast. a show helping everyday employees overcome workplace nonsense.