Company 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.


Here are today’s specials from Audi’s Quattro Café.


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.


You receive an email from Brooke Gatlin regarding your 401K benefits. 


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!

Please list 5 key things you have learned of our rules. Things that are, or are not appropriate for business emails.


  • —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 Question 6

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.


  • —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 7

  • 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.

Basic Etiquette Principles

On Time vs. Late

  • On time is late, and early is on time.
  • Be On Time! Everyone's time is valuable, show each other the respect you all deserve.

Cell Phones

  • Texting or answering a cell phone while someone is speaking with someone (on the phone or in person) is rude. If you are expecting an important call, please excuse yourself politely and request a moment to answer—and keep the conversation or text short.  
  • 99% of calls and texts can wait until you are finished.
  • Phones should be on vibrate or silent mode in the dealerships and in meetings.

Please & Thank You

  • These are very simple words that are easy to use and can change everyone’s attitude. Asking with a “please” as opposed to “telling” with an order has a lasting impact on every individual.
  • Even though it may be a person’s responsibility to complete a task, a “please” and a “thank you” will instill a desire to be helpful—making it something someone wants to do!

Be Mindful of Those Around You.

  • Be respectful of those who are on the phone or meeting with someone in your area.
  • Being loud while others around you are trying to communicate is extremely disruptive and causes a possibility of miscommunication. 

Multiple Conversations

  • When you are on the phone, devote your time to the person you are speaking with.
    • Trying to carry on multiple conversations (such as with another person in your office while conversing with someone on the phone) can also cause miscommunications.
  • And, if you need to speak with someone who is on the phone…wait your turn!

Spelling & Grammar

  • Our computers today have spelling and grammar check.  Please be sure to use these tools.
    • Misspelled words imply a lack of professionalism and attention to detail.
  • In addition, please be certain to spell a person’s name correctly.Many people are offended by the misspelling of their name.

Following Instructions

  • Many policies, instructions, and processes are conveyed through email in today’s world.
  • Senders have  spent time and energy being certain that the information provided will give the information necessary to complete the task.
  • Please slow down…read the communication carefully…and follow the instructions BEFORE calling for assistance.

Replying to Phone Calls & E-Mails

  • READ and RESPOND to all emails and phone calls from co-workers.
  • Email is currently the most effective way to provide valuable information.
  • Not reading or responding to emails sends a message that the work being done has no value and neither does the sender
  • Check your E-Mails DAILY!
    • Set aside a few minutes everyday to read and respond to any emails.

Email to/from a Group

  • Please be certain when you receive an email that is sent to a group, not to “reply to all” unless it is necessary that all read your reply.
  • Reply to the sender of the email, they are the one’s who need the information.

Common Areas

  • Each of us has been given access to community areas that we all share such as break rooms, restrooms, coffee areas, etc.
  • We are all responsible for keeping those areas clean and neat.  If you see trash, please pick it up and throw it away! 


You’re Mom isn’t here!


  • If you take the last item (or the stock is running low) in your supply closet, coffee area, or rest room, either order more or contact your supply coordinator immediately!
  • People get grumpy when there is no coffee or no toilet paper!

Requesting Support

  • If you are in need of support from IT, HR, The Training Department, etc. please be certain to convey all possible information.

    • “My computer’s broken…signed Bob” doesn’t help!

  • Please provide all pertinent information:
    • the dealership name
    • your name
    • your phone number
    • details of the actual issue.

Give People a Chance

  • Please do not overload someone with multiple contacts.
  • Receiving a voicemail on your office phone, another voicemail on your cell phone, an email in your inbox along with a text message does not get your issue resolved more quickly.
  • It actually takes more time to clear those out which slows the response time down


  • We all get frustrated with people and things from time to time.
  • Please do not gripe about issues to those that cannot affect a change.
  • Contact the appropriate people who can help resolve the issue with an explanation of the issue and provide suggestions as to how the issue can be resolved.
  • Negativity is contagious

Telephone Etiquette



•Answering the Telephone


•Interviewing Techniques

•Personal Qualities for Phone Work

•Tips for Telephone Etiquette

•Handling Irate Customers

•5 Phases of a Call

Answering the Telephone

1.Pick up the phone in three rings . More than three rings signals chaos in your office or inattentiveness.

2.Greet the caller, e.g. “hello,” “good morning.” Good manners shows you respect the caller.

3.Give your name. This is a courtesy that serves to personalize the customer service experience as well as allowing the customer to hold you accountable for your level of service.

4.Ask the customer if or how you can help. Asking to help tells the customer you are there to serve his/her needs and to solve his/her problems. This also leaves the customer with a positive impression.

5.The greeting is key, it sets the tone and style of the whole interaction.

Example Introduction

Tone Means Everything


Customer forms a mental PICTURE of you.








Interview Techniques

•Open-ended questions / Closed-ended questions

•Probing questions

•Linking questions

•Providing non-verbal encouragement

•Using supportive statements

•Showing empathy with your client

•Key words repetition

•Using the pause

•Using summaries

•Dealing with mistakes

•Counterproductive questions

•Checking facts & asking for specific information

Personal Qualities for Phone Work





•Sense of Humor



•Quick thinking


•Being thick-skinned

Tips for Telephone Etiquette

Before you answer, be prepared:

  • Have your computer switched on.
  • Have pens, pencils, and notepad ready.

In answering the phone:

  • Answer calls promptly by the second or third ring.
  • Smile as you pick up the phone.
  • Use your “telephone” voice, controlling your volume and speed.
  • Project a tone that is enthusiastic, natural, attentive and respectful.
  • Greet the customer, and identify your company and yourself.

Tips for Telephone Etiquette

In the course of the conversation:

  • Focus your attention on the customer.
  • Enunciate/articulate clearly. Speak distinctly.
  • Use simple English – avoid slang and/or acronyms.
  • Use action specific words and directions.
  • Use the customer’s name during the conversation.
  • Always speak calmly and choose your words naturally.

Avoid These Phrases

Avoid forbidden phrases:

  • “ I don’t know.”
  • “I/we can’t do that.”
  • “You’ll have to….”
  • “Just a second.”
  • “No.”

Handling Irate Customers

  • The first step in handling an irate caller is to simply hear the other person out. Listen intently. Allow the customer to vent some frustration.
  • Empathizing allows you to understand another person’s motives without requiring you to agree with them. 

Five Phases of a Call

File Name Standards

Jim Ellis Client Name File Policy



August 2013


All employees who access the Jim Ellis database through any of the company's software programs (i.e. Drive, CRM, Desking, etc.)


To insure complete and accurate information in the Jim Ellis database.


Policy Statement

  • Each client entered into the Jim Ellis Database has a value and is like putting cash in the bank. It is the responsibility of each employee of the dealership to gather and input accurate data as well as to update data within the system with each client interaction with the dealership group.

Policy Statement

  • Jim Ellis provides processes for adding or modifying the Jim Ellis database to each employee as they go through their Jim Ellis Orientation and training. These processes and procedures are always available though the Jim Ellis Education and Training Department, on the Jim Ellis Portal and from your Department and General Managers.
  • Further, it is mandatory for any Jim Ellis employee to complete the Jim Ellis Customer Name File Policy/Procedures module before the engage the Jim Ellis Database.

Policy Statement

  • Our database is distorted by inaccurate or false data.
  • It is important that all employees make sure that data is complete and accurate.
  • Failure to comply with this policy and follow the processes and procedures put in place by the Jim Ellis organization is a violation of our employment agreement and is open to disciplinary action up to and including termination.


  • It is Jim Ellis Policy that all NAME-TYPE 4 records input in Service, Parts, and Accounting include complete address and phone data.
  • This includes Employees input into NAME-TYPE 4 as a customer!
  • These integrate with contact management tools (i.e. CRM and/or DealerSocket) as well as other areas of the DMS.


  • When inputting an individual into the Jim Ellis Database, it is only appropriate to input their personal home address and home or cell number and never have their Employer's address or phone number input into an individual's file.
  • Company input should also have address and phone.
  • Input into the DMS should ALWAYS be in UPPER CASE.
  • Under no circumstances is rude, foul, or disparaging information ever to be allowed within the database. This is grounds for Immediate Dismissal.
  • It is not acceptable to enter false or inaccurate information into the database to bypass required fields; i.e. 123 Main Street, or 123 Nowhere Lane, or 111-111-1111. Any field with unobtainable data (i.e. email address) should be left blank.
  • DO NOT USE - wng or dnh, etc.
  • ADP Drive and CRM cannot accept hyphens or dashes. A space must be used: i.e. If LAST NAME is Gillies-Perez... it would be entered in the LAST NAME FIELD as: GILLIES PEREZ


  • When entering a Sr., or Jr., or III etc. this is added at the END of the LAST NAME. (NOT the First Name.)
      • input this data in the SUFFIX FIELD drop down menu. (Select Appropriate)
  • The same applies to the TITLE prompt - Which goes before the FIRST NAME.
    • There is no drop down menu, input Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc.

Service and Parts Procedures

  • In the event that a VIN # is pulled up and the owner is no longer the same (vehicle is sold), close out and begin a new service repair order with all the appropriate customer information and that particular VIN #.
  • This will remove ownership from the first owner and attach that VIN # to the new owner. This will keep the original owner history with their Customer # and retain the new customer as well.



  • The control # should retain the original name of the buyer - not the person bringing the vehicle in for service - the driver of the vehicle should be entered as contact information for this particular service repair order.
  • A report is generated each day for the previous day (RNE Report). This report is reviewed by the Client Loyalty and Data Integrity Team. Any identified errors or duplicates are corrected from that report. Additional training will be given to the employee as needed.


  • Duplicate Warnings: It will display a list of potential matches (IF)...
    • The First and Last Name or the Company Name sounds the same as input.
    • The same Address, City, and State and Last Name or Company Name sounds the same as input.
    • the 7 digits of the Phone and Last Name or the Company Name sounds the same as input.
    • There is the potential for 3 warnings of a duplicate entry. Each employee needs to use "reasoning" to determine whether any of these are actually duplicates.

Adding a New Customer

  • When selecting the option to add a customer and, when based on any of the criteria mentioned previously, causes a display of similar names. Verify that Name, Address, and/or Phone that you are about to input matches a selection on the Display. If so, use that matching customer number and name.
  • However, if the Display does not show matching data with your new input, select the option to ADD a new customer number. Then complete input to ALL fields.

Potential Duplicates?

  • Inform your Client Loyalty Representative in your store or email: with customer numbers and names.


Time Management Tips

Filler Content


Meeting Etiquette

Filler Content