Standardized replies save you time but can cost you good will. Create templates and common paragraphs that you can pop into an e-mail or letter, then easily personalize. Use these shortcuts:
- Enter data for contacts the way it should appear when merged into letter fields. Example: If the general manager's first name is Robert but no one ever calls him anything but Skip, the greeting on an informal letter should be "Dear Skip."Note: Whenever you merge source documents with form letters, spot-check the results to ensure the fields match. Computer-generated errors strip away any value of attempting to personalize a letter.
- Keep notes on your contacts with others. Example: By recording previous correspondence, you'll avoid sending the same response twice. Personal details also enable you to add an opening or closing line to a letter that points to a direct connection with the contact. Example: "I look forward to seeing you at next month's widgets convention."
- Handwrite a note in the top margin of a form reply or on an attached business card to add the personal touch.