Jim Ellis Email Etiquette

Email Etiquette


  • This course will outline email etiquette that follows the Jim Ellis Family "Gold Standard" for customer and employee communication. By doing so you will be perceived as a consummate professional readily able to attend to the needs of your customers.
  • —In the age of the Internet, you might find yourself clicking “reply,” typing up a quick response, and hitting “send” without giving so much as a thought about what you’ve just written.
    • Remember - YOUR email behavior has the potential to sabotage your reputation.
  • —This course will give you the tools and knowledge to achieve the "Gold Standard" expected from ALL Jim Ellis employees when talking to other employees as well as customers/guests.


Skimming vs. Reading / Deleting Emails

  • —Jim Ellis is a business and our primary means of communication is through email. Skimming is fine for PRIORITIZING, however, READ ALL emails that are sent to you by ANYONE in the Jim Ellis organization and our customers to be certain you have ALL the information.
    • Response or acknowledgment within 24-48 hours is prefered.
  • —Some people delete everything after they read it, some never delete anything!  There should be a balance. 
    • A message that says the gas pump is down on our Chamblee campus, followed up by “it’s back working” shortly thereafter…most definitely can be deleted. 
    • But an email from the training department providing your logins and passwords (as an example) is an email you want to keep. 
  • Use good judgment in deleting your emails.

Email Questions

Jim Ellis Automotive Group is conducting its open enrollment for benefits mid-October this year. 


The Chamblee Gas Pump has been out-of-order and is back up and running.

You are a new employee who is coming up on your 60 days of employment.  It is necessary for you to contact our Benefits Enrollment Center to advise what, if any, benefits in which you would like to enroll.  Please be advised you have a limited time to be able to enroll as an initial employee.  If you miss your enrollment date (approximately 7-10 days from the date of this letter) you will not be eligible to enroll at this time.  It will be necessary for you to wait until the next open enrollment (usually mid-October) or have a change in life circumstance.

Public Image / Introduction / Bad News / Anger

  • We've all heard the stories about a "private" e-mail that ended up being passed around to the entire company, and in some cases, all over the Internet. Is this matter you're discussing a public one, or private one. Ask yourself if this is something you'd write on company letterhead and post on a bulletin board for all to see before clicking "send."
  • —Do not assume the person receiving your e-mail knows who you are, or remembers meeting you. If you are uncertain whether the recipient recognizes your e-mail address or name, include a simple reminder of who you are.
    • "Hello, this is Seleen from the Chamber Meeting yesterday."
  • —Emailing with bad news, firing a client or vendor, expressing anger, reprimanding someone, disparaging other people in emails (particularly if you're saying something less than kind about your boss) are all major no-no's.
    • Always remember that e-mail correspondence lasts forever.
  • —Practice the 24-hour Rule. If you are upset… take a walk, vent the anger, then look at the issue in a more balanced way. It will save you a lot of regret!


  • The maximum number of exclamation points in an email? ONE
  • —The maximum number of emoticons in an email? ZERO TO ONE
    • —Otherwise you risk looking childish and unprofessional.
  • —Don’t use fancy fonts, they are hard to read.
  • —Don’t use colored backgrounds, they lack professionalism and also can be hard to read.
  • —Words from grown, business people  using shortcuts such as “4 u”, “Gr8”, “ur”, etc. in business-related email is not acceptable. If you wouldn’t put a smiley face or emoticon on your business correspondence, you shouldn’t put it in an email message. Any of the above has the potential to make you look less than professional.
  • —Slang or jargon should not be used either. So please, don’t use “Yo Dude”.
  • —DON'T TYPE IN ALL CAPS!!!! (You are yelling!)
  • —dont type in all lower case (you are lazy!)
  • —Use full sentences and proper sentence structure.
  • —Use Spell Check and Grammar Check – it definitely saves embarrassment!

Email Questions Continued

A customer has sent the following email. What is an appropriate response/

"I can't believe it's been a week and I haven't heard a word from you about our parts! This is absolutely ridiculous! Where is my Part?!?"

Your supervisor sends an email to the entire shop explaining a new protocol we are using. What is an appropriate response.


Which one of these greetings is acceptable?



  • —While sending “thanks” or  “OK” is great as an acknowledgement that an INTERNAL email has been received and understood, one-liners in no way advance a conversation with a customer.
  • —If you truly do not need a reply or an acknowledgement, feel free to put “No Reply Necessary”.
  • —Before you click Reply All or put names on the Cc or Bcc lines, ask yourself if all the recipients need the information in your message. If they don't, why send it? Take time to send your messages to the right people.
  • —Remember:  “To” means you want a response; “Cc” means no response necessary. When emailing the entire company be sure to put your email in the To: Line and everyone else on the Bcc: Line.


  • Nothing annoys recipients more than when people reply and leave the messages messy. Clean it up, then send it.
  • —Do not hit “reply all” unless every member on the email chain needs to know. You want to make sure that you are not sending everyone on a list your answer—whether they needed to know or not.
  • —For example, I received an email from Jimmy Ellis asking whether the 16th would be a good day for a leadership meeting. He sent it to all members of leadership, but  the only one who really needed to know if it was a good day, was Jimmy.  Choose “Reply” or “Reply All” carefully.
  • —Always check your “Junk” or “SPAM”  folder before you assume someone has not replied to your email. Occasionally emails can get caught up in either of these two folders.

Subject Line / SPAM

  • Avoid subject lines that are in all caps, all lower case, and those that include URLs and exclamation points – which tend to look like Spam to the recipient.
  • —Avoid words like Sale, Free, You Have Won…we all receive these kinds of emails. If your subject line is something that you would delete out of your personal email, you might want to reconsider your choice of wording in your Subject Line.
  • —ALWAYS include a subject line; otherwise you increase the potential of having your email go to a SPAM or junk mail folder.
  • —People initially “skim” email based on subject line and addresses with the most important and the most clearly defined first. With inboxes being clogged by hundreds of emails a day, it’s crucial that you subject line gets to the point. It should be reasonably simple and descriptive of what you have written about. Expect than any email with a cute, vague, or obscure subject will go to the bottom of the list and possibly trashed.  Also, proof your subject line as carefully as you would proof the rest of the email.
  • —Never open an old email, hit Reply, and send a message that has nothing to do with the previous one. This is the time to start a new email…when the subject changes.

Reply ALL vs. Reply…which is appropriate?

  • Reply All
  • Reply

Received or Read Receipt/High Priority/Auto-Responders

  • Be certain that your email is truly worthy of requiring a received or read receipt.  Using it on every single email is annoying and distracting. In addition, it generally must be acknowledged BEFORE the recipient has had an opportunity to read the content.
  • —Don't overuse the high priority option. If you overuse this feature, few people will take it seriously. Use the Subject line effectively!
  • —An automatic response that says, "Thank you for your email message. I will respond to you as soon as I can" is useless. However, one thing these messages do great is alert spammers that your email is real and that they can add you to their spam list.

Pick up the Phone

  • When a topic has lots of parameters that need to be explained or negotiated and will generate too many questions and confusion, don't handle it via email.
  • Also, email should not be used for last minute cancellations of meetings, lunches, interviews, and never for devastating news.
    • If you have an employee or a friend you need to deliver bad news to, a phone call is preferable.
    • If it's news you have to deliver to a large group, email is more practical. 
    • If it is detailed you may want to schedule a webinar to convey your message to a larger group and be able to have interaction.
  • —If you perceive a message as being “rude” or “disrespectful”, pick up the phone.  Work it out voice to voice. 

Back and forth, like a “saw”, builds heat and friction causing cuts that can be hard to heal.


Email Questions

  • Pick up the phone and cuss them out!
  • Delete the email and go on about your business.
  • Pick up the phone and call, apologize for any confusion, and proceed to work through the issues
  • Send the email to HR to complain of customer rudeness.

You and a fellow employee have been sending emails back and forth trying to accomplish your objections.  Things are starting to get testy between the two of you.  What is the best thing to do at this juncture to be certain the two of you are able to achieve your goal?


Keep it Short and To The Point / Attachments

  • Write concisely, with lots of white space, so as to not overwhelm the recipient.
    • Feel free to use bullet points.
    • State the purpose of the email within the first two sentences.
    • Be clear, and be up front.
  • —Sending unannounced large attachments can clog the receiver's inbox and cause other important emails to bounce.
    • If you are sending something that is over 500KB, senders should ask, 'Would you mind if I sent you an attachment? When would be the best time for you?'
  • —No more than two attachments, and provide a logical name.

Know Your Audience / Signatures / Maintain Privacy

  • Your email greeting and sign-off should be consistent with the level of respect and formality of the person you're communicating with.
  • —You NEVER want someone to have to look up how to get in touch with you.
    • Use your signature to give your name, title, company, address, Phone numbers, email address, etc.
  • —If you're sending a message to a group of people and you need to protect the privacy of your list, you should always use "Bcc."
  • NEVER give out email addresses to a third party (such as an Evite, newsletter, etc.). Make sure that addresses you hand over to third parties are only on an approved basis (see your manager) and that the information stays with them.
  • —Refrain from discussing confidential information in emails such as someone's tax information or the particulars of a highly-sensitive business deal.
  • Be especially careful with customers’ personal information.
    • Should the email get into the wrong person's hands, you could face serious – even legal – repercussions.

Work E-bay

Jim Ellis email is not to be used for the sale of personal items, but it would be silly to pass up a good deal, so we have set up place on the Portal for this!!


  • Texting is the “new” email and should follow all the same rules of presentation, grammar, spelling, content, etc. that email requires.
  • —It has become a professional tool and should be used with the same thoughtfulness and care that we apply to ALL correspondence.
  • —Choosing our words carefully is extremely important and extreme care should be given to conveying the information we intend.
  • —The written word does not allow for inflection or humor.

—“Type unto others as you would have them type unto you!”


Email Question

  • Business email and business texting apply the same rules

Accuracy / Accountability / A Reflection of You

  • —Jim Ellis makes certain all staff is trained in email communications – we don't assume you know what you’re doing, and what is considered professional. We have email standards that everyone at the company must abide by.
  • —Every email you send adds to, or detracts from your reputation. If your email is scattered, disorganized, and filled with mistakes, the recipient will be inclined to think of you as a scattered, careless, and disorganized businessperson. Other people's opinions matter and in the professional world, their perception of you will be critical to your success.