Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

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Tech Talk: You’ve got mail


May 2, 2014
By Stephane Laverdiere

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Public domain e-mail addresses have their place, but that place is not in your chiropractic office.

Public domain e-mail addresses have their place, but that place is not in your chiropractic office.

Such e-mail addresses are great for personal use. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others provide a great service with their free e-mail addresses, which you can use regardless of your Internet service provider (ISP), making it easier to change service providers without disrupting your personal life or notifying all the contacts in your address book.

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While those public domain e-mail accounts are great for keeping in touch with friends and family members, they are not suitable for business purposes. Once you understand the limitations of these free e-mail addresses, you will realize why you need to set up your own professional e-mail service for yourself and everyone else in your practice.

Inappropriate advertising
You may have wondered how large and profitable public companies like Yahoo, Microsoft and Google can afford to give away a service as valuable as e-mail. The answer is deceptively simple; it is also something you may not have thought about.

When you send an e-mail from your Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail account, these e-mail service providers tack their own ads on to the end of your message. That may not be a big deal if you are sending a picture of your new granddaughter to a family member, but it can be a very big deal if you are sending a message from your chiropractic office.

The e-mails you send help form the public face of your company, and every word in every message has a role to play. Think about how you would feel if the e-mail you sent to a colleague or patient contained an ad from a company with a poor public image.

Security issues
There have already been a number of high-profile security breaches affecting public domain e-mail providers, and those problems are likely to continue. In the past, hackers have been able to make off with e-mail addresses, passwords, contact lists and other sensitive information, which they used to send out spam that flood the inbox of affected users with junk mail.

Think about the black eye your business would suffer if all your professional and patient contacts started getting spam messages in their mailboxes. At a minimum, those business contacts and patients would be upset with you and your practice. At worst, you could be legally liable for any damages they suffer. A single security breach like that could make that free e-mail account very expensive.

Imperfect spam filters
Public e-mail accounts are magnets for spam, which makes it hard to sort out legitimate messages from the junk. If you use one of these public e-mail addresses for your business, chances are you will be spending a lot of time sorting through your inbox and to ensure messages from your patients get through.

While these public e-mail addresses do have spam filters, they are often unable to properly classify the messages coming in. That means some spam messages will make it through to your inbox, but there is also the danger legitimate messages will end up in the junk folder. Unless you have time to go through hundreds of messages every day, using public domain e-mail address for your business is a very bad idea.

When you set up your e-mail through your ISP or web hosting service, you have much more control over the messages that reach your inbox. You can set up detailed and finely tuned spam filters to keep the junk mail at bay while making sure legitimate messages make it through.

Lost branding opportunity
The return address of the e-mails you send is more than just a means to communicate; it is a prime branding opportunity. If you use a generic service like Hotmail or Gmail, you lose out on that opportunity. Building a consistent brand should be a major goal of your business. Using an e-mail address that reflects your unique brand helps you put a consistent face on your practice and helps build trust with your patients. 

Proper branding is essential. You need to create a brand that customers will respect. A dedicated e-mail address that contains the name of your company helps to build that brand, while a public domain address does just the opposite.

Lack of professionalism
Using a public domain e-mail address for your business communication may demonstrate a certain lack of professionalism to your clients’ eyes. You may not realize it, but recipients pay attention to the e-mail address you choose. That e-mail address is a reflection on you and your practice.

Also, it can be hard to find a professional-sounding e-mail address that is still available through those free e-mail services. An address like bigdog2020@hotmail.com might be fine for personal communications, but it is not exactly a ringing endorsement of your practice and its professionalism.


Dr. Stephane Laverdiere is a graduate of the National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, Ill., and president and cofounder of Atlas Chiropractic Systems, a paperless office solution. He is also the founder of the Internet video marketing firm, ChiroVMail. He can be contacted at slaverdiere@atlaschirosys.com or at 1-877-602-8527.


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