Whatever happened to urgency?
Seems like nobody responds to emails and voice messages in a timely manner these days. I'm not talking about sales solicitations. That's another topic. I'm talking about salespeople who can't even seem to find the time to respond to requests from customers and prospective customers??
That's strange. Maybe they're not the right fit for you? If I don't get a timely response, I move on. If I'm a customer and they are not responding within a reasonable amount of time, it suggests mismanagement to me, and I would take my services elsewhere. I would first follow up with a call to make sure my email didn't get lost in spam or elsewhere first, and give them the benefit of the doubt, but if it kept happening, I'd move on...
When everything is marked "urgent" or "important", the truly urgent and important get lost in all the noise. Combine that with a little "Boy Who Cried Wolf" feeling from people when "urgent" becomes "hurry up and wait" and you can see how the terms have lost their power from overuse and misuse.
Thanks to everybody who pitched in on this! Some really great points and many that make me think :)
I'm sure we've all experienced this, Craig.
My feeling is that urgency seems to be directly linked to importance.
How important does the recipient rate the message? Do they even read it? If they do, they tend to 'gloss over' it, and miss the core message. Do they consider importance? Do they stop to think that whilst it seems unimportant to them it may be very important to you.
I hate to overgeneralize, but most people think that whatever they are doing is the most important thing in the world.
They follow protocol based off what other people tell them. And people are scared to lose their jobs so I think they chose inaction over action sometimes.
Couple of things I've been told -
Emails - you have 24 hours to respond, and 3-7 days if you don't want to be viewed as rude
Voicemail - unfortunately people don't even check their voicemail any more, but if the boss leaves you a voicemail you are in trouble.
Texting, Twitter, Facebook, cell phones, technology in general gives people this sense of immediacy and urgency in their personal lives and emails and voicemails remind people of work and somehow the most important email and most important voicemail always seems to "get lost in virtual space." or "cannot be downloaded"
At first, email and voicemail helped people communicate and sped up business. Sadly, it seems these days emails and voicemails are both used as tools for people to slow down and think and hesitate before they act. I think people genuinely just forget to respond to emails and voicemails sometimes. or they "just forget to respond."
I'm not sure what happened to salespeople - maybe they are just constantly working on leads because that's what their boss wants them to do? I have a feeling it is based off of the incentives within the company and the incentives and corporate cultures of most companies is unfortunately lacking. Some salespeople are focused solely on leads and not on anything else.
I wonder the same thing. Maybe it is a sense of skepticism that has invaded the corporate world? Maybe it is spam that causes people to hesitate to answer emails or answer their phones? Maybe it is the tendency to outsource some of the core functions of business? I think a lot of people are wondering the same thing as you...
Some people have an internal drive to actually help others. Some people have an internal drive to just help themselves. I think in business, most people are only looking out for themselves.
It depends on the person. I have some "friends and framily" that rarely return emails or voicemails and the next time they see me they give me big hugs and say why haven't I heard from you? At this point, I kind of just laugh it off and try to enjoy the moment.
I think the greater question is what happened to authenticity, trust and respect in business?
Thanks for the thought provoking question!
Are you finding the frustration equal in all areas of communication? For myself I am faster to respond to an email or text in many situations due to the nature of my work. (I try to ensure my voicemail lists the time frame I will get back to the message leaver which I think helps to alleviate the angst of waiting).
From my experience people seem to expect a text message should be responded to instantly, an email quickly then a phone call last. My audience is mixed generation so I am not sure that age is the criteria. Curious to see what others have to say about the speed of different communication methods.
Regardless of which I agree that an acknowledgement of some kind goes a long way in building or maintaining relationships!
i always answer an email within 24 hours. If I don't have an answer I at least let the person know I GOT their emaI and will be attendinbg to it.
Probably the miggest omission these days in the communication cycle, weather, email, phone, interview or whatever is the acknowledgement. How does an individual know their communication has been received unless there is an acknowledgement? Even a simple, 'yes I see' or 'I got that' is usually sufficient.unless a more extended answer is required. To illustrate this point, how do YOU feels when your communication is not acknowledged? It is not even good customer service but simple politeness.
It is sad that some people or companies lack of follow up especially when it involves an unsatisfied customer. I am one that responds immediately. It is important to show your customers you care and that they are important to your organizations success. No issue should go unanswered. Keeping someone waiting only escalates the issue.
On the urgency of getting the job done. I see this effects the success of people around me. I work with a person currently that waits until the very last moment to start a project. The have so much going for them but will not do anything with it due to their priorities. Every moment of my life is important to me. How I spend my time is vital to my continual success. I love your question it brings out a lot of ideas.
I think in todays society everything is urgent. But with everything being urgent, nothing really is urgent.
Perspective has been lost on what really matters. People would rather fulfill their selfish wants than deal with the real issues of their life.
Unfortunately gone are the days of a consumer making a phone call to a provider and the call even being answered. While technology has made us online 24/7 it has also provided us with opportunities to switch off.
We can divert to voicemail when we are busy, we can switch off outlook until our scheduled time to read emails. All this done to enable us to operate as efficiently as possible. Have we forgotten what we are working for though? No use using time effectively to be more efficient if we do t have any customers left to serve...
Always acknowledge the contact, even if it's to tell them you will be in contact in time.. Common courtesy I would have thought?
Here is how I see the situation:
People often prefer to internalize their urgency. They know what they need done and act on those action plans. But when a customer makes an unexpected inquiry the salesperson has to disrupt his own action plan to create an action plan that includes the customer's inquiry.
Here's what i think drives people to be irresponsive:
People have come to believe a culture where "instant" action is necessary. This is easy to achieve within an individuals own plan.
An unexpected request however needs a time investment. So people are inclined to wait until they complete their instant actions.
It is at this point in the reasoning where a corruption can occur. People become used to instant action and when faced with a decision that requires time, opt to seek other "instant" actions during the time they COULD have spent considering the inquiry.
I hope I've given you the opportunity to resolve your inquiry.
Personally I think a 80/20 balance of instant action and time intensive work is necessary in our generation.
Ah - leftovers from the Me Generation - I am personally disgusted and dismayed with the "new" work ethic.