Response Time – Have you noticed how some people always manage to respond immediately to your calls or messages? And have you also noticed how some people never respond in spite of repeated calls? How do you feel about that person in both the scenarios? I am sure you would want to deal with people who are quick responders. Well the answer lies in something even more fundamental than just the response time management of these people. It’s all about respecting other people’s time and communication.
Okay, before I start writing on this let me admit that I was not one of the most disciplined people in responding to calls and emails. At the turn of the last decade, with the arrival of mobile phone technology into our palms. All of us suddenly became available 24 hrs to the rest of the world. Gone were the days when one would book a trunk call 15 days in advance. We had moved way past the painful process of standing on our porch waiting anxiously for the local postman to complete his round of homes only to be disappointed if he missed our doorstep to deliver a letter. We were now WIRED to everyone around us and even those who didn’t care we existed. (Read Rude Telemarketers)
I was one of the many who struggled to handle this invasive communication bombardment. No one educated me, nor did I try to learn how to use this power tool. So I was faced with many an abusive mails and sms’s by irate clients because I wouldn’t respond to their calls or emails quickly, especially to the ones who would call or write at the most ridiculous of non-working hours. I spent most of my early years with the mobile phones and emails feeling guilty of not being quick in response and would always feel shy to call people back assuming it was too late now to respond. But I was wrong and I realized this when I first learnt the cardinal rule of modern communication… And it was…
Respond to calls and emails within 24 hours of a business day.
And if you can’t then put your mails and calls on an auto responder.
When you respond within 24 hours you send out the following messages to those who want to connect with you.
- I respect your time.
- I know you will reciprocate the same to me too.
- Your relationship is important to me.
- I understand your urgency
- I am not taking you for granted.
- I am a professional.
- I am not careless / frivolous.
And when you don’t respond within 24 hours you send out the exact opposite message of the above points. Many a times people do not respond because they do not have a suitable response or they do not want to entertain someone. The solution is to be straight forward and speak your mind. When you avoid you present yourself in the bad light.
But many simply fail to understand such an important aspect of Communication ethics and have a list of excuses when confronted. Some never feel sorry and the defiant ones happily justify their misbehavior with volumes of fake imaginative stories about how their life is so jam packed with merciless obligations and responsibilities. They act as if everyone else is sitting idle and they are the only ones who are actually working. Such unprofessional people must realize that what goes around comes around. They too will have to face some rogue unprofessional guy someday who would not attend their calls or messages when they need him the most.
So the message is clear – No matter how busy you are, you must acknowledge the mails and calls you get with a quick response within 24 hrs. You may take time to take the necessary action later on but the response and acknowledgement must be within 24 hours.
Business and Professional success today is all about Quick RESPONSE TIME and those who understand it… Succeed.