One of the major drawbacks to e-mail as a communication methodology is the fact that, while some individuals promptly respond to e-mails, others do not. In fact, have you ever sent an e-mail to someone, and then wondered if it ever even arrived because you did not get a response in a timely manner.
Many businesses have studied this issue, and many require their people to carry devices such as Blackberry’s, so that response to e-mails is timely. Studies in the real estate industry indicate that the average response in that industry to e-mail is from 24 to 72 hours, while agents that are trained in properly using devices such as the Blackberry, generally respond to e-mails in less than twenty minutes. Obviously, the sooner someone gets a response, the more appreciated they feel, and thus it is particularly important for individuals who deal with the public, particularly in marketing, sales, or civic- type positions, to respond to e-mails quickly.
Studies have indicated that e-mails are often widely over-used, because many people are somewhat intimidated by telephone and personal communication. People can often feel more comfortable in written communication than oral. However, there are many times when e-mail does not speed up the process, because written communication is often misunderstood or incomplete. Oral communication is more personal, faster, and gives one the opportunity to have misunderstandings clarified.
Since face-to-face communication is considered the most effective, and phone calls are next, one must realize that e-mails are considered less effective than even text communication. Much of that is because of the less than timely response rate of much e-mail communication.
As I consult, I advise someone to always respond to all e-mails as soon as possible. If the answer to a question is not readily available, the response should be that you will check on it, and get back to the inquirer as soon as possible. Then, the receiver of the e-mail must follow through on his promise to respond.
If you are going to utilize e-mail for anything other than casual correspondence, it is essential to respond in a timely manner. Effective use of e-mail means that one cannot wait to respond until they get to their computer, but must use some sort of personal data device (PDA) to respond as soon as possible. You will be amazed how others will appreciate your effort and promptness.