I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet this week about communication…not the big customer communication stuff we’d usually talk about here…it’s the little stuff that’s got me all hot under the collar today.
In particular, the answering of personal e mails…and by that I mean e mails from someone we’ve met or done business with, sent directly to our personal business e mail address.
Now I know that we all get a lot of e mails, hundreds of the damn things every day, and there’s no way that we’re going to want to, or be able to answer each of those personally…that would be crazy. But here’s the thing, if I’ve done business with you, if we’ve exchanged money in one direction or the other, if we’ve had conversations, shared information, added value to one another’s business in whatever way…then to me, we have a business relationship, and if I send you an e mail, I expect a response.
Tell me if I’m alone in believing that it’s simply rude to ignore a personal message from a customer, or even from a supplier who we’ve enjoyed value from in the past? For me though, the impact can be much greater than annoyance at basic rudeness.
How will I view you if I have spent thousands, or even tens of pounds with you, and you don’t reply to my personal e mail to you? How will I judge your values? Will it affect how much I like you, how much I’m willing to spend with you in the future? What sort of referrals will I give you?
I’m not saying that it’s easy to get to all of your personal e mails, and I do appreciate that some of you will get a hell of a lot more than me. What I’m saying is – have a system for getting to them. Develop your own disciplined process…one hour a day…a couple of hours a week, a half day a month where you sort your inbox by ‘from’, and just reply. How long does it take to type ‘No thanks’ really?
And if you get that many e mails, chances are you’re pretty successful and have a personal or virtual assistant who can do it all for you. I wrote to Michael Gerber (author of the E Myth) recently. I imagine he gets a fair few e mails, requests, suggestions every day, and yet, two days after I wrote to him I had a reply, from his assistant, with a full and very friendly response to my e mail. Now there’s a man who understands systems
Business is all about relationships. We all know that people do business with people they know, like and trust…people who they connect with and share values with. Those connections…those trusting relationships are built on a foundation of open, honest and consistent communication. They are much quicker to break than they are to build, and they are precious. Don’t lose them for the sake of a ten second response.
Director – Bright