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How Fast Should You Respond or Expect a Response to Business Emails?

Patience and Business Email Response Time

Realistic Expectations

Many believe that email is instantaneous. Depending on the current network status, many times, email is pretty darned quick. But there will be times due to network traffic or geographic issues that will cause email to take longer to get to the other side.

Regardless of how speedy that email is received in your contact’s inbox, that doesn’t mean the recipient is required to drop all of their other responsibilities and immediately respond to your email. They may not even be online or in front of the computer checking email to know you’ve sent them a message. And, not everyone has their email on their smartphone either.

Yes, expectations do matter, and it is important as a business owner to live up to your contacts’ expectations. Unfortunately, in the competitive online world, fast responses do rule the day!

What is the standard turn around time to send a business email response?

Short Answer: As fast as you can!

Long Answer: I recommend at least within 24 hours (during business hours, of course) if at all possible. If you cannot respond quickly, send a note saying you will respond when you can do so in detail.

Those considering doing business with you have high expectations about response time with email (due to the perception of instantaneous receipt). Since they assumed you received their email within moments of them clicking the Send button, how long you take to respond will be correlated with how important they are to you.

Responding promptly and concisely gives the Sender insight into what it will be like to communicate and do business with you. Don’t we all prefer to do business with those who think our emails are important and provide us with the info we seek promptly?

The quicker you respond, the more favorable of an impression you will make. With new contacts, know that onliners email several sites or companies at once. Those who respond quickly and professionally will have the coveted opportunity to create an incontestable positive impression. In contrast, those who respond at their convenience may cause the Sender to wonder what delayed your response while your competitors beat you to the punch!

If you are the Sender…

Senders should realize that to expect an immediate response, and then when you don’t receive one, to send a follow-up email 30 minutes later can be viewed as overly demanding. But, then, a phone call 15 minutes later? If the matter is that important, you probably should have started with the phone call in the first place!

Of course, those you communicate with should do their best to respond to emails as promptly as possible. But keep in mind that sometimes folks are busy. They have other responsibilities and activities that require their full attention. They may be in a meeting, out of the office, trying to meet previous deadlines or commitments.

“But I want a reply!”

As a general rule of thumb, do not send a follow-up any earlier than 24 hours after sending your first message. Offer a dash of courtesy to those you email and give them time to respond.

Suppose you have a deadline or date-specific that requires their input? Note that in your email and be patient. Can’t wait 24 hours? Then an email is probably not the appropriate venue for your request. For matters of urgency, pick up your phone and call.

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