Wednesday, April 02, 2008

It must have gone into junk mail .....

Forgive me but I am returning to an old chestnut of mine for a Wednesday rant! I know I will feel better after this!

The oldest excuse in the book in the good old days was; ‘It must have got lost in the post’

In our new electronic age it didn’t take long for new excuses to be invented did it?

The 21st Century version is: ‘Your e-mail probably went into my junk mail folder’

As I have said many times on my Blog I plead guilty to being obsessive about this – some might say I’m a pain in the backside.

Firstly I get mildly irritated when people do not reply to an e-mail; then after a chaser I still get no reply – I get frustrated and angry; If I still get no response after a third attempt I get flaming mad.

Then I calm down and realise I have to tolerate low standards of professionalism and courteousness - and that there are far more important things to worry about in life.

I am sorry to say there are a minority of individuals who display ultimate bad manners by not replying to e-mails.

The reason I refuse to lay down and meekly accept this ‘bad manners culture’ is because some fantastic people - who one would think are far too busy to find the time to reply – are able to do just that. That is what gives me hope and proves to me I am right to demand high standards in this issue.

One example I highlight again is Tony Benn who is surely one of the busiest 83 years olds in Britain with a massive correspondence intake daily both e-mails and hard copy letters. I have had the great pleasure to correspond with Tony a few times by e-mail in the last couple of years and he ALWAYS finds the time to reply in his ultra-busy schedule. A few words is all it takes.

Almost every person/organisation I deal with have great manners, fabulous integrity and are always courteous in replying. It seems, for them and me, a totally natural thing to do. We clearly have a sense of professionalism, responsibility and respect.

Those few individuals and organisations that don’t feel the same about their standards lack both integrity and courteousness as far as I am concerned. I see no acceptable excuse.

I’m sure all of us can tell when we are being conned by the excuse ‘It must have gone into junk mail’ – we are smart people – we have not just fallen off the Christmas tree – please treat us with some respect. I am very proud to be a forgiving person … but not when it is just down to plain bad manners.

And yes … I do feel better now.


Joel D Canfield said...

My very favorite marketing guru and author has replied to every single email I've sent him, however inane I might have sounded.

I do, in fact, have problems with my computer thinking it's smarter than me, and I have lost emails. Infuriates me, because if I get an email, I send a response. Always.

I'd so much rather hear "not now" or "no" or "leave me alone" than send things into the void and never know if the recipient was truly interested, but lost the email or just got caught up in life; or, perhaps I've annoyed them once too often and I'll never hear from them again. Hard to know.

Yeah, what you said, Trevor.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Joel - Great to hear from you again!

I thought I was the only person in the world who felt so strongly about this :-)

Anonymous said...

I can say with a great deal of confidence that I am not guilty of this breech of e-mail etiquette (I hope)...and agree 1000%. I have often wondered about these "selective" junk mail folders work. Of course, I'm still trying to understand my wife's super power of total recall of all things imaginary so it might be a while before I decipher the spam issue.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Dave - I publicly confirm you are definitely not guilty of this crime - our e-mail discussions are brilliant

Seems like I have some support - it looks like you, me and Joel against the world :-)

David Wike said...

I receive around a hundred spam emails a week. If your emails go into my spam folder they get deleted automatically without me ever knowing. There again, I don’t suppose that you are one of those annoying people trying to sell me dodgy ‘genuine’ computer software, cheap pharmaceuticals, potions to enlarge my ‘equipment’ or to tell me that I just happen to have won a fortune in a lottery that I have never heard of!

Trevor, you may recall me telling you that I had written to the owner of a well-known chain of stationery shops. Absolutely no response whatsoever. The problem is that with Royal Mail losing millions of letters a year, I cannot be totally certain that mine hasn’t gone the same way.

On a positive note, you may remember me telling a story about fabulous customer service from Lakeland Limited. Well, they exceeded even their high standards recently. My wife was so impressed that she wrote to the MD to express her thanks. In return she received a postcard of the Lake District handwritten by him to thank her for thanking him! As Tom P would say, “Wow!”

Trevor Gay said...

David - fabulous story about Lakeland and from your praise of them before I am not surprised - they are brilliant it seems.

I think you know the type of e mail I mean when I say it is just plain bad manners. Yes of course some e-mails end up in junk mail but I often chase e-mails and surprise surprise they are miraculously ‘received’ second time round – especially if I suggest for instance I may alert the Chief Executive of the total lack of response ....

There is something called a genuine oversight and then there is another state you and I know full well :-) - it is that latter state I am getting at.

Seth Godin said...

But it DID!

I just found 100 in the spam folder

I hate this

hate it.

Joel D Canfield said...

I've realized that I truly am losing more and more stuff to the invisible elves. My struggle is how to stop losing important communiques without making my friends, clients, prospects and suspects do it for me. It's not their job.

So far, the answer from other techy types is "spend lots of time and money installing and babysitting anti-spam software" which isn't my favorite answer.

I get junk snail mail, junk email. Now that it's illegal, I don't get junk phone calls. Maybe it's time to start leaning folks toward my phone, and bite the "but it's not asynchronous!" bullet.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Seth – like you I hate it to big time! - You know what I mean though - there are some e-mails that your gut just tells you have been ignored and there are the genuine ‘lost’ ones. I am not the cleverest person in the world but I can usually hazard a damn good guess about those who ignore versus those who don’t and I am sure you can too with all your experience.

Trevor Gay said...

Joel - surely you are not suggesting we start talking to each other again - you anarchist cage rattler! :-)

Joel D Canfield said...

Ah, it's my nature. To cage-rattle, I mean. The phone is definitely not my nature, but I know this guy who writes about things like mirroring others' communication style instead of just being what you're used to being. I should oughta take my own advice, eh?

Trevor Gay said...

Keep rattling the cage Joel - I glance through all my junk mail to see if there is anything other than genuine crap but I am probably a bit pedantic!