Pretty much every day I get e-mails that cause me to shake my head in disbelief. I read them and think that if someone spoke to me — in person, in that way — there would be trouble. But of course, they probably wouldn’t do the same in person. Given the benefit of the doubt, these e-mailers do not mean to be demanding or terse; in person they would make extra efforts to avoid that from happening, right?
My natural inclination has always been to reply to everyone who e-mails me, to share my POV, help them to understand and to double-check if the tone and intent relayed is a misinterpretation. Unfortunately, after well over a decade of taking that stance, it has become increasingly clear that approach is no longer prudent or productive.
When folks are rude, demanding and terse clearly making no effort to communicate with clarity or even include basic courtesies in their rants, I now do not reply at all. Why should the onus be on me to make an effort to “show them the light” when clearly they have issues with the topic of e-mail etiquette?
Web site owners are increasingly taking this stance as well as site visitors clog their inbox with requests that have no details, filled with typos and poor grammar, making demands that are impossible to accommodate or accusations that are inaccurate. Hmmm…. what would a person who communicates like that be like to do business with?
Lack of e-mail etiquette courtesies is a sure sign that you will be a difficult customer to service. Why encourage more contact by responding?
I know I’ve had that very thought when being contacted through my WordPress Consulting site. As we all find that our inboxes are increasingly being filled with more messages that need our attention and time to respond to, it is common sense to realize that not all messages warrant the time for us to respond.
For those who are unable to e-mail with “knowledge, understanding and courtesy”, I know I no longer have the time to give them the benefit of the doubt? to try to change their ways. I’d rather spend my time responding to those who contact me in a way that let’s me know that my time and advice will be appreciated.
That is why E-mail Etiquette is so important when e-mailing those you do not know. These little courtesies allow your e-mail to be viewed as a serious one and thereby increasing your chances of receiving a response.
Because, if you don’t want to make these efforts, know that no response actually is a response.