Protecting information through email caution

Want to succeed as a Realtor? If so, pay close attention to detail and safeguard your important information, as letting sensitive data slip can damage your reputation and threaten your career prospects.

Want to succeed as a Realtor? If so, pay close attention to detail and safeguard your important information, as letting sensitive data slip can damage your reputation and threaten your career prospects.

Be careful
One crucial facet of protecting these particulars involves being careful about any and all email communications. After hitting "send," you can't unsend a message unless you've configured a special function with your email provider. Overlooking this distinction could be costly, and people should be sure they keep it in mind anytime they consider sending emails to a group of people, Jeff Dowler, CRS, wrote in a recent article for Active Rain.

The danger of reply all
Dowler emphasized that most professionals - including lenders, agents and inspectors - use this form of communication, and almost all buyers and sellers do as well. Anytime you receive an email sent to a group, be sure to inspect its content. If the information contained is sensitive, hitting "reply all" might result in the message being sent to all recipients of the original message.

Negative comments
Another way that hitting reply all can get someone in trouble is if you let a negative comment about a person - created specifically for one specific person with which you have a personal relationship - go to unintended recipients, Melissa Dittmann Tracey, contributing editor for REALTOR® magazine, wrote in an article.

Forwarding messages
Forwarding messages is another area where you can get in trouble, Dowler notes. If you receive an email sent to multiple recipients - including your client - sending this to the Realtor representing the other side in a transaction can be problematic.

Another problem that can crop up when forwarding messages is sending recipients rather long chains of communication, he stated. If the staff of a lender, escrow office or title company receives information about a borrower they shouldn't have, it could have negative consequences.

How to recover
If you commit one of these email snafus, there are ways you can recover. One strategy is to compensate for a misstep by making sure you have the most up-to-date information on available properties, including mortgage records and warranty deeds. This expertise could heal your image in the eyes of a client, even after you make a mistake. One good resource for obtaining this information is CRS Data. To walk through our CRS Data Real Estate Suite, click here.

Once you have obtained the requisite knowledge, be ready to manage any email slip-ups. For example, if you let a sarcastic comment about a person get through to unintended recipients, pick up the phone and start making calls to right the situation, Dittmann Tracey suggests.

By calling someone personally instead of using email, it will be far easier to get across how sorry you are with your tone of voice, emotion and energy, she states. This will go much further than simply making an email apology.

In addition, you can proactively manage the risk of sending an email to the wrong place simply by being careful. Do this the right way, and you will never to apologize for a misfired email.

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