E-mail communications problems: The bane of a business network’s existence

I recently had an issue with a member of one of my networks that went something like this…

Another member had stopped answering their rate requests and on top of that would not even answer their e-mails any longer. They wanted to know if I would somehow step in and check it out.

So I asked the following questions:

1) Have you called or Skyped this other member yet?

2) Have you faxed this other member yet?

And guess what…? No, they had not.

Maybe this is because of my age but I remember when if you had problems with agents, suppliers, clients, etc., you would pick up the phone and call them. Sometimes you would even hop on a plane if the issue was big enough or grave enough. But it seems that nowadays business people around the world have what I call “e-mailitis”. Meaning they rely so heavily on e-mail that they do not even consider other forms of communication.

As it turned out both parties in this scenario wound up disillusioned with one another. The complainant’s reply to me was that I shouldn’t tell them such a thing as pick up the phone since a member of the same network should be so courteous and answer the e-mails. Of course they have a point – but they also lost the business. Not entirely because the other party didn’t answer the e-mail but I would say almost equally because this company complaining decided that e-mail is the only way to get things done.

We live in a world that those of us who grew up before 1985 would have had a hard time imagining. We have directly lines, mobile phones, voice mail, faxes, VOIP and so many other ways to connect with others these days. Not is it only strange that I would have such a complaint (non-follow up of e-mails) without the complainant first calling the agent on the other side but it seems this kind of complaint is on the rise!

So folks…

If you have a business partner (agent, vendor, client, etc.) who has not followed up quickly enough for you by e-mail response then call them! Or Skype them! Or fax them! If you don’t do this and you put all of your eggs in one basket, relying solely on e-mail, then don’t blame the other party if you don’t get the business.

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