Have you ever sent an e-mail that wasn’t received? Or heard that someone replied to your e-mail, but you never received the reply? This ever-increasing occurrence can result in loss of credibility, lowered confidence and loss of business – not to mention time lost doing “damage control.”
I once received an “Unsubscribe” e-mail from a newsletter subscriber, an unusual occurrence. I replied, saying I was sorry to lose her. She told me she’d recently e-mailed me a question, but “since I didn’t care enough to reply, she no longer cared to receive my tips.” Ouch! I’d lost all credibility with her. The sad thing is that I never received her initial e-mail.
I apologized, explained what happened, and offered to answer her question, but she’d found her answer elsewhere; end of story. This was a lost opportunity to reach out to someone and possibly earn new business.
Here are a few tips to avoid losing credibility regarding e-mail:
- Create a habit of answering e-mails promptly (within a few hours; at least within one business day).
- Tell everyone this is your habit, your COMMITMENT. Tell new acquaintances at the first mention of exchanging e-mails; you can even put it in your e-mail signature so people know this is your practice. I say this: “I want you to know I never ignore e-mail or voice mail. So if you send me one and I don’t get back to you within 1 day (at most), something is wrong. Please try again.” Not only does this preserve my credibility if an e-mail is lost in cyberspace, but people appreciate knowing I have a strong a commitment to providing common courtesy to others.
- Request a read receipt on critical outgoing messages (not a Delivery Receipt, which simply means it was delivered, but a Read Receipt, which means it was opened).
- BCC yourself on critical communications to create an electronic “reminder” in your InBox. If its existence there is not reminder enough, drag it to the Task Bar (Outlook) and create a reminder for yourself to look for the Receipt and/or follow-up if they do not follow up with you.
A WOWplace cannot exist if its members don’t have credibility Establishing a habit, proving it with your actions, and creating automated systems to assist your memory and help you keep your promises will help establish and maintain credibility… and help you avoid losing time doing damage control.