Learning how to say thank you in business emails, especially with US colleagues is so important. Possibly, you have wondered:
While foreigners in the US or working remotely with Americans know saying, “Thank you” is important to Americans, many are confused about how to say thank you. Americans appreciate a “thanks”, and are not shy about saying it. While saying “thanks” directly is not always an “Indian” behavior and not seen as rude if it is missing, to an American a lack of “please” and “thank you” is considered rude, inconsiderate, not good customer service, and will not build good relationships. Below, I share a few tips on saying thank you in your business English emails that you can also apply to your spoken interaction with US Americans as well.
Learning how to say thank you in business emails can be an art. In some cultures telling someone thank you for doing their job can be offensive. In fact, I have lost count of the number of emails from clients or training participants from India where I wrote “thank you” only to read the response, “There’s no need to thank me, I am just doing my job.”
However, in many cases, Americans are apt to get offended if a “thank you” or acknowledgment is never said or given. My advice is that one working with those in the USA can’t say “thank you” enough. While that is the case, Americans are known to get irritated with the [oveuse of the] direct “thank you.” It’s more important to word your appreciation in an individualized way so that your reader understands what exactly you are thanking them for. Be sure to include how it helped you or your team get the job done effectively, on time, on a budget or with fewer headaches.
In the above responses, note that the words “thank you” or “I appreciate” is not used in every sentence. The key is to be specific about what they have done for you or with you and how it will result in the outcome they are looking for. This is a good way to say “thank you” in an email without using the actual phrase – thank you. This kind of “thanks message” is dependent on the e-mail thread you are replying to. Also take note that in the above examples, where “thank you” is in red font, it’s not necessary to say “thank you,” as the message ahead of this is thanks enough.
I think saying “thank you” in an email more than once or twice in the same message may be an overkill depending on what is being communicated. If you want to say “thank you” in response to two or more things, summarize the things together, then say “thank you” or vice versa.
Take note: It is best practice to let your clients or customers know when they will look forward to your response or the resolution of the problem. If a specific time frame is noted in the e-mail it alerts the American side that you are taking their requests seriously. It is best practice to follow up a day ahead of the expected deadline for updates, especially if there are problems and the deadline may become problematic.
Avoid saying “we will get back to you at the earliest” or similar phrases that do not list a number/time frame. Vague time frames are confusing to Americans, and will not show accountability or initiative to them from your side. Use of specific time frames with numbers and following up accordingly will be the best practice.
Saying “thank you” is a must if the client has:
Many of us have seen the email closing:
Thanks & Regards,
This is not a way to say thank you in business emails. Why? Because it is in the email signature – not in the body of the email. Ensure your thank you message is in the body of the email and that it talks to a way your reader did something WITH you or FOR you.
Always remember that we can’t go wrong thanking our US counterparts. It is more about how we make a person feel. Even though people may not always remember exactly how we articulated it, the exact words we used, as long as we are genuine, this helps to build a relationship so that people feel better about us. Then, later when we need their help, they are more apt to drop what they are doing to help us.
To sum up, “thank you” is a must in e-mails. It NOT being there holds longer term consequences than it being there, though not everyone pays attention to it! Thank you can also be used to close an e-mail as in “Thank you, Regards, (your name)”. Always take the time to add pleasantries into e-mails, they can never hurt if done correctly, but can harm if not applied at all.
Now that we understand when and how to say thank you, here are tips on RESPONDING TO THANK YOU.
Do you want help with expressing your appreciation and writing thank you emails (in addition to many other types of emails)? Our online email writing course, The Ultimate Guide to Email Writing for Ease and Professionalism. is tailored for IT Professionals working outside of the US using English as a second or other language. It may be one of the best email writing training programs for those in the IT industry. We have already delivered this program live in person, via Zoom rooms, and online in 1:1 coaching sessions to over 2,000 software professionals of all career levels.
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