We talk about concerns over not replying to e-mails quite a bit here @ [email protected] Onliners e-mail me all the time asking why their e-mails are not responded to. On the other side of the coin, many believe that e-mail is instantaneous and therefore so should be the reply.
To expect an immediate response, and when a response is not received lickity-split, to then send a follow-up e-mail within 30 minutes of the first (and in some cases another and another) can be perceived as demanding or pushy. Especially considering in many cases those follow-ups increase in tone, question and exclamation marks! Yes, everyone should do their very best to respond to their e-mails as promptly as possible. However, to have an expectation of an immediate response in most cases is unrealistic.
Sometimes folks are busy. They have other responsibilities and activities that require their full attention. They may be out of the office, on vacation — off-line having a life!
The courteous approach is to give those you e-mail time to respond. As a general rule of thumb no need to send a follow-up any earlier than 24 hours since you sent your first message. If you can’t wait 24 hours, then e-mail is most likely not the appropriate venue for your requests and sending multiple follow ups may not accomplish you receiving the information or response you desire.
If a matter is that important or urgent, just pick up the phone and give them a jingle!