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Cintia Miranda Cintia Miranda
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Why answering your email messages is good for business

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Do you answer all of your emails? Do you answer all of your emails?

Let's face it: we're all busy people, and time is a rare commodity in our lives. However, I am a stickler for customer service, and believe that it starts at the top of the organization at the C Suite. There's nothing that turns off a prospective business partner faster than the feeling of being ignored, or worse, of being used. I am often amazed when my clients, prospective clients and business partners thank me for being prompt. After all, isn't that how it should be?  Business etiquette is a huge portion of brand development, and it's often overlooked by many, including small business owners and decision makers.  

To ignore a message that someone sent you in good faith is a blunt sign of disrespect, which doesn't paint a positive picture of the brand you represent (especially if you are a decision maker). I am not suggesting that anyone should spend time answering spam emails or returning calls to recorded messages. However, if your business has engaged with someone at some level, you owe that person the courtesy of a response, even if the answer is simply, 'Thank you for your message, but I'm not interested at this time.'

The next time you're pondering whether or not to respond to an email message, here are a few pointers that might make the process easier:

  1. 1)Dedicate specific blocks of your day to email correspondence. I usually check my emails three times per day when I arrive at the office, at noon, and at 4 p.m. When you're not checking correspondence, turn off your email so that you can concentrate on other work and not feel overwhelmed by the incoming messages.
  2. 2)Use Confucius' Golden Rule as the basis of your business etiquette: 'What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.' We all appreciate a prompt response, so if you expect correspondents to reply to your emails, spread the joy and do the same.
  3. 3)Create a generic 'reject message' for the conversations you wish to discontinue. This can be something like, 'Thanks for your message. I appreciate the information you've shared with me, but I am not interested at this time. I'll be in touch if anything changes.' Remember, try to keep the door open for future engagements.
  4. 4)If someone is hounding you, don't be afraid to be assertive. Simply respond, 'I'm not interested at this time and do not to wish to engage. Thank you.'  
  5. 5)If email is not resolving the conversation, pick up the phone. This gesture will increase your professional perception 1,000 percent, even with a rejection.

I work on average 60 hours per week between my business, my volunteer work and my primary job as a mom. My schedule is full but I still make time to answer all my email and phone calls (minus spam messages, of course), and it has worked well for both my personal brand and my business. Time may be a luxury for business owners and decision makers, but it's more professional and prudent to give email conversations closure and keep the bridge open for future conversations. After all, isn't it what networking and business nurturing is all about?


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