Do you expect those you email to stop everything and respond — like now?? Are you one of those folks who after sending an email, if a response is not received within an hour, you pickup the phone and ask “Didn’t you get my email?”??
If someone expects a quick reply to an email, should it be stated in the email? Stating you expect a better than prompt response would only be recommended when the topic or email is time sensitive and genuinely that important. Which if that is the case, picking up the phone and calling the person directly in lieu of an email is probably in order. To make an expedited claim with every email (Are you an Return Receipt Abuser too?) dilutes the urgency of your future requests — you have heard about the boy who cried “Wolf!”?
Common courtesy dictates that business emails should be responded to in a timely basis. Realizing the fact that “timely” is relative and subjective means you have to manage your expectations. Of course recipients should do their best to respond as soon as they can. However, “timely” can mean different things to different people. For business emails, “timely” can be a competitive tool.
For those who have to pick up the phone shortly after sending an email wondering if it was received due to a lack of reply; patience is a virtue. Rather than babysit your requests, why not work on other things and then do a follow-up email the next morning? Proceeding in this manner reflects respect for the other side’s time.
Now that we have all the above on the table, keep in mind that in business “the early bird gets the worm.” Those who respond promptly and professionally will make a positive impression and show those who email them how easy it will be to have business email conversations with you. Delay responding and you risk looking uninterested, unorganized and unprofessional.
What do you do when you really need a response to an email? How soon afterward do you do a follow up email — or pick up the phone?