The email response rate in Thailand is quite low. Ah who are we kidding: It barely exists. It doesn’t matter where, who or what you email about. Sure, corporations are more likely to reply. However emphasis on more likely. Still not sure. When it comes to Universities or small businesses…good luck. Especially when it comes to more advanced or detailed requests. In order to increase the likelihood of a response there are a few things that have to be proven important for me.
1.) Short subjects. Don’t use fancy words. If you want to apply somewhere write ‘application’ and not ‘inquiry regarding…’ – the person checking the email might not be that fluent in English and is quite likely more interested in answering pokes on Facebook than forwarding your email to the appropriate person in charge. So be specific and keep it simple.
2.) Keep the content of the mail also easy and polite. Just as mentioned in point 1.). The initial person to read your email is probably not the one in charge of making decisions. However he/she needs to understand what it is all about to address the right manager/person in charge. Therefore stay away from words that are to fancy. However do not forget to be polite. Most Thai people know all the super polite vocabulary so use that. Be humble, polite and friendly!
3.) Keep the content short as well. Even if your email reaches the right person and that person speaks English well chances are high he/she is still “Thai” (not nationality wise but way of life wise). This means he or she won’t spend to much time reading through your complete email. You’ll lose them with the start of the second paragraph. Therefore, again, keep it easy to understand. That does not mean you should only use kindergarten English or grammar but refrain from to complicated grammatical structures and to much information. TMI = No reply. And trust me, that’s a serious point. Seeing that over and over again that even “smart” people (PhDs etc) don’t get the content of emails because they simply stop reading or processing the second half of a long mail.
4.) Say what you want. State clearly what you expect from that email. If the recipient has to reply within a certain amount of time, say that clearly. Don’t be afraid to sound to childish or like a parent giving orders to a kid. Be sure to be polite of course but never expect people understand implications in an email (they don’t even do it in real life). So say what you want.
5.) Follow up. No reply after a week? Follow up! They do that all the time in real life so there is no need to be afraid of doing it via email as well. Remind them that you’re still there and that you are waiting for them – in a polite manner of course.
6.) Use social media. If there is still no response coming in, use social media. While people are great in ignoring emails they are always on Facebook so contacting a brand via an official Facebook page is mostly a good and valid idea. Most companies will not consider it to pushy as long as you are, again, polite enough.
7.) Don’t necessarily use your own email host. For some weird reason people here trust [email protected] or [email protected] more than [email protected] You won’t believe it but the response rate to my gmail mails is way higher than to my @my-thai.org mails.
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