How to kill CC emails before they kill you

Aug 24, 2020
min read
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I have successfully sworn off CC and BCC emails. Finally.

Something had to give.

Email was already eating away at enough of my time. Did you know it can take an average person up to 64 seconds to get back to work after checking an email? For many professionals - and I was definitely one of them - hours a day are wasted on reading emails, writing replies, and finding the focus to get back to doing the work you came in for in the first place.

People tend to use email in a very selfish and thoughtless way. A regular person would think twice before making a phone call, but not before hitting send on an email. Especially the 'reply all' button is treated with very little respect.

Reply all meme

This especially rings true for CC emails. I get instant headaches when I think of all the useless FYI's, unwanted notices, endless threads, and the stupid forwarded jokes I have had to plow through for years on end.

Don't get me wrong. I have always enjoyed using email for one-on-one communication. But it's flawed for anything that's more complex - such as sending CCs. I was impatiently waiting for email to get an extreme makeover ASAP.

The revolution

When I started working for Trengo back in February, I found out that the revolution had already started. They opened me up to a world where CCs are the ultimate persona non grata.

Mind = still blown.

Our software solution makes it possible to drastically decrease the number of CC emails you send and receive on a daily basis. In this article, I'll explain how you and your organization can also kill CC emails. It's gonna be quite a shameless plug for Trengo, but hey: if it works it works, right?

How to save yourself from CC terror by using Trengo

A while ago, I came across an article on LinkedIn by Dannielle Walz that explains when you should use CCs. Email etiquette for CCs, so to speak.

According to her, you should use CCs when:

  • You want to update people on the progress of a particular project or event.
  • When management wants to be kept in the loop on certain conversations
  • When you are doing a job for somebody else and want to make sure they can keep up with your progress

I appreciate the manual, and I probably would have used it back in the day, but with Trengo you don't need any of these rules anymore.

Trengo is a team inbox in which you can work on email together. You can assign messages to specific teams and specific users. If you want to communicate internally - for instance, to discuss an ongoing conversation with a customer - you can chat right within the email thread.

So, if managers want to keep themselves in the loop, they can simply find your conversation within the inbox. When you want to update people on the specific progress of a project, you can send them an internal note. Yes, it's really that easy.

According to the writer of the article on LinkedIn, you shouldn't use CCs when:

  • You actually expect colleagues to respond to them
  • You want to remove your responsibilities or make them vague
  • You want to cover yourself up ("Yes, I made a mistake, but you saw my email right?")

Once again, Trengo solves this before it even becomes a problem at all.

You can ask questions right within email threads, which urge your colleagues to actually answer your question. With a CC email, people are less likely to answer fast - if they even answer at all.

Sneakily removing your own responsibilities by CCing a bunch of people also doesn't work, because emails in Trengo are always assigned to people. If you want to remove responsibility, you would actually have to assign it to someone else, which would at the very least blow your cover.

How to handle external CCs

It's time for a moment of transparency - Trengo doesn't necessarily save you from external CCs. I'm sorry to say that I have no way to exterminate these last little bugs.

In some cases, you will simply have to use CCs the correct way. By sticking to a certain etiquette, so to speak.

CC etiquette for external usage

You should only send CC emails when:

  • You are sending a message to somebody, but want the other person to be 'in the loop'. If you wish for multiple parties to reply, you should explicitly mention this in the introduction of your email.
  • Only CC somebody if they really need the information you are sending them. A lot of times - as I mentioned earlier - CC emails are sent way too easily. Ask yourself if the receiver really needs this email.

BCC etiquette for external usage

Only send BCC emails when:

  • You want to keep somebody in the loop without the other receivers noticing
  • You want to send invitations to multiple people and keep their data private from other receivers

Warning! Do yourself a huge favour and don't use BCC emails too much. Receivers may not always be aware that they were BCC'd and hit the 'reply all' button. People have lost their jobs like this.

Hope that anybody from outside of your company sticks to this etiquette. If they don't, suggest others means of communication.

Start your CC-free life today

Are you ready for a work-life without having to duck CCs all day? Try out Trengo and discover how easy it can be to communicate internally without the hassle.

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