Taking Time to Communicate

Posted Friday, June 7, 2013 in Customer Experience by Ronni Marshak

The other day, I received an email invitation for a briefing on caching technology—“because of the space you cover”—from a PR agency representative. I use to take many briefings on products in the areas of collaboration, workflow, and “groupware,” but I haven’t covered technology products for years (except in terms of how they are used to enhance customer relationships), nor did I ever cover technologies such as caching.

As I wondered what list I’m on that identified me as a prime candidate for such a briefing, and as I was about to delete the message, I thought about the PR rep who was simply doing his job, trying to find analysts who would take such a briefing on behalf of his client. So I spent about 15 seconds responding, “Thanks for the invitation, but I’m afraid you are mistaken about what I cover. I cover customer experience and customer innovation. Not technology.” I pressed “send.”

I quickly received a response from the PR rep, acknowledging my reply along with a comment saying, “I appreciate the response.”

No biggie. But it made me start thinking about all the emails that we receive that aren’t on target, not because they are spam, or because you subscribed to something that you now can unsubscribe from, but valid requests or comments that simply don’t interest you. And, like that misguided PR rep, who was obviously given incorrect information, there are people waiting—and hoping for—a response.

By sending a quick “thanks, but no thanks” email, you accomplish a number of things:

  • You stop further emails on the undesired topic, thus reducing (even if only slightly) the hundreds or more emails that clutter your inbox every day.
  • You help someone keep on track with what he or she is trying to accomplish by provided updated information (not interested).
  • You acknowledge that person who sent you the unwanted email, which is simply a nice thing to do.
  • You create the most basic of relationships that may prove valuable in the future. (The PR rep now knows what I cover in my own words and might sometime have a client with information to share that I find valuable for expanding my thinking or writing a blog post.)
  • You feel good about yourself for taking just a few seconds to create closure.

While you take time to smell the flowers/the coffee/or whatever else we are advised to smell, I encourage us all to take the time to reach out to communicate with others. In the large scheme of things, it doesn’t mean much, but where else might we take a few seconds of our time provide accurate information, offer closure, and create the first blush of a relationship that could prove fruitful in the future?


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