Writing Polite Emails

I can’t tell you how important it is to write polite emails. Even when you are filling a ‘Contact Us’ form on a website, e-mail etiquette applies because most probably the administrator is going to receive your information in his mailbox.

What constitutes a good email? What is a no go? Let me just briefly talk it through. I just received a rather “rude” email. It wasn’t entire rude, but the tone wasn’t friendly or polite.

In an email or a contact form, you can always start off by “Dear Sir/Mdm” or a simple “Hi!”. To make it less formal sounding, just use a “Hi” and I’m sure you have started off fine. Please do not launch into the objectives straight away, although it won’t be impolite if you omit the “Hi!”.

Next, the body of the text. Think about what you are saying, and put it in a polite tone. When I contact people from forms, I normally try my best to sound as polite as possible. In the email I got, the person questioned my website policy in NextTutor.

Then you all do this for what? Altruism?

Come on, whats the catch.

Seriously, this is in an “accusatory” tone. He or she could have phrased it differently and making me feel pleasant about answering his or her questions. Directly accusing me of being a “hypocrite” is wrong because I am not. I mean, one shouldn’t directly keep thinking that there are catches when somebody offers a service for free. For me, I would write it this way:

Hi,

I read from your website at NextTutor.com that you are offering the service for free. I was just wondering if there are any reasons behind, like I have to pay some money to unlock special features? I am also curious to know the reasons behind your decision to offer the service for free. I’m curious because most other websites will not do all these for free.

Thank you.

Yours,
XXXXXXX

I think this sounds much better. In fact, if I receive such an email, I would be more than happy to tell him or her why. Of course, no matter what I gave him/her a reply that I hope would be satisfactory and as polite as possible, but I’m sure people will understand when you feel a tinge of irritation when you reply to rude emails.

Well, in fact I’m really doing everything for free. One do not need to pay to use the facilities provided by NextTutor. In fact, there are not many services provided, just a simple database + filter capabilities. There is no hidden charge and I only cover my hosting fees and domain name fees through adsense, which till now, has just been enough to cover the fees.

The reason why NextTutor was started was more of an interest in learning PHP. From young I had an interest in websites, and I guess PHP opened a whole new dimension for me because I can create dynamic sites. Using this technology, everyone’s lives would be easier.

In a way, being cynical and using the word altruism makes me feel like some organ donor.

Seriously, which parent or tuition coordinator will pay me money just to put up an assignment? Tuition assignment forums are also free of charge! In fact, I provide the means for people to see your assignment, but I do not help anyone link tutors and students together. Hence, I guess if I asked for payment, my users will be 0. Simple as that. In this information age, why should we pay money for something we provide? Hence, I’m just using ads to cover my fees.

In the future, perhaps I will go into linking students and tutors, and there will be separate fees for that. No matter what, NextTutor’s database will remain free. If I cannot cover my hosting costs one day, I will close NextTutor down, simple as that.

So please people, write polite emails. It make’s everyone’s day better, especially someone who does not profit by providing a service. I’m sure we don’t go around questioning volunteers who are helping with disaster relief?

“Eh you volunteer for f***? Altruism ah? Confirm got catch one..”

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