How to Be Friendly in a Business Email

When writing for business, we should always try to be:

Here, I want to focus on the first of these: how to be friendly in a business email.

A lot of people falsely believe that they need to be as formal as possible when writing a business email. This is simply not true! Whether writing to a customer, a business contact or an internal party, it pays to be friendly. But how exactly can we do it? Let’s look at five examples:

Exhibit A

I often receive emails that end something like this:

Should you have any enquiries, please contact us at the email below.

It sounds cold, formal, unfriendly. In fact, it sounds like the person secretly doesn't want you to contact them! Let’s try this instead:

We are always ready to help you with any enquiries. Simply contact us at the email below.

Just by using the word ‘ready’ and a slightly more conversational tone (while still being formal enough), we are able to sound a lot more friendly. Note also, how our second example could also be used in spoken English. If your sentence in written English also sounds good in spoken English, this is a good sign!

Exhibit B

This sentence is straightforward enough:

We will arrange an airport pick-up for you.

However, we can still improve upon it by using the word happy:

We would be happy to arrange an airport pick-up for you.

Think about it. Travelling somewhere new can be stressful. What do I do when I arrive? Will the taxi drivers try to rip me off? When you receive a friendly email, it really helps you to feel more confident about the whole experience.

Exhibit C

I often receive emails that begin something like this:

I refer to your enquiry dated November 27.

Or even worse, this (asking the reader to check the subject line to find out what the email is about):

This email refers to the above.

A simple rule of thumb which also follows our theme is this: when you send a reply, always begin with thank you.

Thank you for your interest in our products.
Thank you for your recent enquiry.

Even when replying to a complaint, we can begin like this:

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention.

Exhibit D

Again, overly formal phrases like Should you... sound unfriendly.

Should you wish to place the order, please use the following discount code:

Try using friendly and positive phrases such as we would like to... or even it is our pleasure to...

To show our appreciation, we would like to offer you the following discount code:

Exhibit E

In this example, Please be informed sounds impersonal:

Please be informed that your tickets are available for collection.

Let's rewrite it starting with We or I. Remember pleased – with a d - means happy, so using this word always make our writing sound friendlier.

We are pleased to inform you that your tickets are ready for collection.

To sum up:


Try a short quiz on this topic here

Full examples

Bad example

Dear Sir/Madam,

I refer to your application for a small business loan.

Please be informed that your application has been approved.

You must now proceed to your branch to complete form 22C in order to receive the first installment.

Good example

Dear Sir/Madam,

We are pleased to let you know that your application for a small business loan has been approved.

To receive the first installment, you simply need to complete form 22C at your nearest branch.

If you need any further information, please call me at 033 8827 1122, and I would be happy to assist. Once again, thank you for choosing New Paradigm Bank.