Last night, I sat in my school board meeting and we discussed expectations of returning e-mails. It seems that our constituents haven’t always been pleased about the promptness of the board returning e-mails. As a new member, and someone in business, I spoke out. The bottom line is this – we are a business and the expectations for all businesses are prompt responses via e-mail. With Blackberrys and iPhones, it’s not difficult to get your e-mail. 24 hours should be a minimum expectation.
The same goes for you. As an business professional, there is an expectation that you are available. Most clients don’t demand an immediate response. Any response would be nice, though!
My business model is to return all calls in 90 minutes and all e-mail within 24 hours. Normally, I am well within those limits. What is your model? Do you inform your clients? Are you scared to?
My experience is that business professionals don’t advertise their response model. Usually because they don’t have one or are dubious of having one. I challenge you to do it. There is almost nothing more universally desired by clients, customers or prospects than to be called or e-mailed back quickly. In today’s technological world, 24 hours isn’t tough to do. Even if the message is simply that you are on vacation and will have to get back to them, or that you don’t have an answer and will get it – they at least have received confirmation that they were heard. It’s like them picking up a phone and calling you with a question. You wouldn’t listen to their question and hang up without talking. Communications is a two-way street and a certain level of courteousness is in order.
If you truly want to differentiate yourself from your competition, then simply return your calls and e-mails quickly.
© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved