You know those little red numbers on your iPhone? The ones telling you how many unread emails and texts you might have? I hate those numbers. I am obsessed with getting rid of them.
You should be, too.
I know you’re already too busy. You barely have enough time to read this blog. You find value in it, so you make the time.
Sending back quick acknowledgement emails doesn’t seem to have the same value so you don’t make the time. But it does.
Not counting spam, most of your emails are either questions, answers, or documents. Some require action, some, such as answers to questions you asked or documents you need, just require acknowledgement. I want to talk about the latter.
Taking a quick moment to shoot back an email that says, “I got it,” or “Thanks!” or even just “Received,” will actually save you time in the long run.
Because of the person on the other end of the email.
If your insurance agent, accountant, or payroll specialist sends you a document and you don’t acknowledge receipt, they are going to fret. Did you get it? Did it end up in your junk folder? If you don’t respond, they are going to send you another email, or worse yet, call you and take up your time in another way.
If someone sent you a thoughtful answer to a question you asked, they want the feedback that the answer was received. They’ll also get back in touch at the least opportune time to say, “Did you get my answer?”
Acknowledging emails will also raise the bar.
Acknowledgements are courtesies. They tell the other person you value the work they did for you. They tell the other person you think about them, too. That makes your relationship with that person even stronger and makes them more willing to go to bat for you should the need arise.
Little details like this make a difference in how your business is perceived. If you ignore emails, don’t acknowledge receipt of documents, or thank people for answering questions you asked, people will think less of you and less of your business. When the easiest way to grow business is through repeat and referral customers, the last thing you want is for anyone to think less of you in any way.
You know the equation … Time = Money.
Not acknowledging emails sent to you with documents or answers to questions you asked won’t save you time and will probably cost you money.
PS One disclaimer. It is acceptable for you and the person you’re emailing to set ground rules of when you will and when you won’t acknowledge. Without that conversation, though, you run the risk of wasting your own time, the time of the other person, and the reputation of your business.
PPS In my new job, I know that quick responses to emails is essential. In a customer-centric business, other people’s needs always trump my own. Yes, it does mean I’m constantly starting and stopping the projects I’m working on. I’ve also learned how to plan blocks of undisturbed time to get stuff done. Shall we talk about that next?