Response Time and PR

I’m fortunate in that I get little enough email that I can generally respond within a day to most queries. However, being in contact with many people who receive far more messages than I do, I’m familiar with the concept of dealing with vast quantities of mail.

This week, I had to contact a company which deals in large quantities of email to process a refund. The experience showed me what a good email policy is.

One evening, I realized that a purchase I had made had never been delivered, and so I emailed the vendor requesting a refund. Minutes later, I got an automated response telling me that my email had been recieved, and would be taken care of within 2 business days.

The following afternoon, I got a personal email asking for more details so that they could process the refund, to which I sent the requested information. I was notified that the refund would be processed within 5 days, and would get an email once the processing was done.

An hour later, that email came as well.

What this company did right is that they followed up at every step of the way:

  1. They acknowledged that my email arrived, and let me know when I could expect a personalized response;
  2. They met the timelines they set with a generous margin;
  3. They constantly assured me that they would deal with this issue promptly and that they were concerned with my ultimate satisfaction.

If you receive more email than you can deal with immediately, following the example above may help reassure those emailing you that you will respond, and will do so in a friendly and professional manner.