Is Anybody Out There?


Do you answer every e-mail that you receive?  What is your usual e-mail response time?  When people don’t answer your e-mails, how does that make you feel?

Observing proper etiquette for responding to email is an important piece of communications for any small business.  I realize that everyone is busy, but I think it unprofessional when people do not respond to e-mail.   In my opinion, it tells me that what I say or what I need is not important.

It is a good business practice to answer all customer/client e-mails within 24 hours; vendors and acquaintances can wait up to 48, according to a recent survey published in Chron.  I manage e-mails for some of my small business clients and I see how many e-mails they receive during a day.   Believe me when I tell you, a huge amount of today’s business happens via e-mail.

In a recent discussion with 3 other female solopreneurs, I found that we all have very different ideas about e-mail etiquette.  Forty-eight hours would not be acceptable for one of the ladies; she expects a much more timely response.  Another small business owner takes it very personally when she does not receive an e-mail reply in a timely manner.  I think it is important  to remember that we all don’t think alike and our timeline is not necessarily everyone’s timeline.  But in the end, good manners are in order.  With that said, use the simple RATE system to assure professionalism in e-mail.

R-Reply-No Matter What:  24/48 hours is a good response time for most people.

A-Answer All the Questions:  Don’t you hate it when you ask 3 questions and only receive a reply for 2 of them!   Now you have to start the process all over again.  Take time to read your e-mails and respond to all points the sender is trying to make.

T-Tone:  Be careful, tone is hard to read within an e-mail.  Take caution not to interject attitude or sarcasm into your response.  Watch about trying to be funny too, humor can be easy to misinterpret.

E-Emoticons:  Avoid using these when sending or responding to a business e-mail; they tend to make you look unprofessional.

What you write and how you respond to e-mail can be critical to your success.   E-mail etiquette is important for small business owners and their teams.

headshot    About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge service in the Dayton, Ohio area.

Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as   your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.      937-416-2207