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Adrian Pitt

Develop-meant Training Consultants


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Email etiquette – does it exist?


Hi all,

As someone who runs his own business, I pride myself on my levels of efficiency and customer service. That's why I'm often blown backwards by the way some folk handle themselves over email.

If a prospective client makes (what I believe to be) a genuine email enquiry about one of my company's qualification programmes, I go out of my way to send them the details - way within 24 hours - putting myself in their shoes by answering the questions I think they may have.

So then, NOT to get a response, not even the slightest acknowledgement like: "Thanks Ade", has a tendency to wind me up ever so slightly!

I'm sorry - no one is TOO busy or TOO important to spend a few seconds being courteous.

Does this get up anyone else's nose? Are my expectations too high? Am I imposing my own values and beliefs? Is there such a thing as "email etiquette"?!


9 Responses

  1. My equivalent is when you
    My equivalent is when you hold a door open for someone and they just breeze through without saying thank-you, that really does wind me up. To answer your questions; it’s not too much to expect but it is imposing your values and beliefs on other people.
    When I buy from amazon or ebay; I’m not very good at leaving comments or rating the service. It’s not that I haven’t appreciated it, it’s just that it’s not a habit I’ve gotten into. What does make me do it is if companies send me follow-up e-mails to ask me to do it and if they tell me why it’s important to them to get feedback I’m also more likely to do it.
    So, maybe a follow-up e-mail may be worthwhile or a message in your original e-mail to tell people that you would appreciate an acknowledgment or some feedback.

    1. Cheers Clive, some great
      Cheers Clive, some great points. Yes, I agree re follow-ups. I sent what I called a “courtesy follow-up email” to everyone who had enquired following a recent campaign we did to promote our Careers and Advice and Guidance qualifications. Plus, I always end with a line like: “I’d appreciate if you could let me know your thoughts…” or “Can you let me know how you plan to move forward?”

      1. No problem Ade; just a couple
        No problem Ade; just a couple of points to add. The ones I tend to reply to are the ones who take the time to explain why they need a rating or reply. Also, to make it easy, could you experiment with using voting buttons on the e-mail and ask your clients to respond that way. Just a thought.

        1. I agree with Clive – it’s
          I agree with Clive – it’s worth explaining why you would like a reply or feedback, as I’m usually happy to respond if I feel that my thoughts would be beneficial or useful, but usually unless I have a very strong opinion about a product or service (whether positive or negative) I’m unlikely to reply. Conversely, I always try to respond to any contact from clients or site members, even if it is just to say thank you!

  2. Hi Adrian
    Hi Adrian

    Is your email the most important thing for them that day, that moment? For you it is important as you’ve replied and sent useful information but might not be.

    I understand your frustrations as I’m regularly sending quotes for training options to our clients. I just learnt to accept that not everyone does reply and that a reply to say thanks doesn’t mean they will put any business my way. I’d rather have silence and then their business.

    I’d recommend getting in the mindset that some will but some won’t. As long as you uphold your own values you’ll avoid being annoyed with people that don’t have the same as you.

    All the best


    1. Thanks Blake,
      Thanks Blake,

      I will try very hard to live by that “mantra” !!

  3. Hi Ade
    Hi Ade
    I do empathise. I can spend 2-3 hours creating a proposal that the prospective client has requested, without a reply. I appreciate that clients are busy and we are lower down the priority list, however I would have thought a fellow human resources professional would have more courtesy.

    But then I think when I was doing a corporate job, did I reply to training consultants? Not always……..

    1. Thanks Bryan,
      Thanks Bryan,

      Uncanny that I should have this “bee in my bonnet” as, for the second time in a week, an organisation claims not to have received my email! So, I MAY be blaming humans and it’s the technology that’s at fault?!

      Last week I chased an Awarding Body as we were waiting for some qualification approvals. They hadn’t received my email with application forms, staff CVs etc. I’ve just had the same conversation half an hour ago with a College! Having put the phone down to a member of staff, I emailed him some qualification details straight away. He’s just emailed to ask if I’d sent anything through!

      It appears that some organisations have strong Spam filters and, especially with attachments, emails get stuck. Staff are not being contacted to request if they want them released.

      Lesson learnt, follow-up with a phone call!

  4. I find it interesting and I
    I find it interesting and I guess reflect how none of us see the world in the same way, so to many saying thank you or responding with feedback wont occur to them in their world, they may feel its part of what you do, and expected from your company. Re the holding the door had an interesting experience where I did this for an elderly lady and she really got angry and turned on me by saying ‘ I’m not that infirm yet young lady’ !! again their world and my world

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