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The importance of a good SubjectMarch 13th, 2009
This is one of my pet gripes. So I’m just going to explain why it’s such a problem.
One of my roles here at BigSoft is to support various companies with their corporate network and the solutions that we have provided.
Occasionally I get emails requesting support. I realise that not everyone is as computer literate as me and there are various shades of aptitudes. Choosing the Subject for an email is the important thing. Not only does it allow the email to be safely filed and easily retrieved, but it gets me thinking about your problem even before I have opened the email. I can judge how long it is going to take to respond - which makes me feel better. Although my emotional well being is not generally the issue, it does make me want to “go the extra mile” because I know they are actually interested in helping “us” solve the problem.
I have kept all the email sent to me and all the email I have sent out for the last 5 years, so as you can imagine there is quite a lot! Digging out old emails is difficult at the best of times and so having an email Subject that describes the contents of the email is hugely valuable.
So in an effort to make the general populace aware that some subjects just make my life unnecessarily complicated, I will list some of the more common Subjects that don’t really help or ingratiate yourself on the support person you are trying to engage.
Urgent help needed
Some people write Urgent for almost everything. If a person writes this it means that they couldn’t be bothered to check the box which sends the email with a higher priority so it’s not actually that urgent. They have done whatever is easiest for them which shows that they are not really interested in solving the issue together - they just want you to do all the work so they can wash their hands of it.
The subject is particular useful when using mailing lists or forums. You only need to spend a couple of seconds looking at some of the forums before you find the kinds of unhelpful subject titles I’m talking about. You will quickly see that the posts with a better subject have been read more times and as a consequence have more responses.
I think that I have ranted enough. Needless to say that providing a good email subject that clearly states the intention of the email will get you better responses quicker.