I really think it’s common sense that email responses should be given in a timely (24-48 hours) fashion. Am I nuts!? Sometimes, I feel I am when I never get a reply to an email I have sent – especially one with a request or question in it.
So… I turned to the internet! What does ‘prevailing wisdom’ (whatever that is!) say about the proper netiquette on email replies? (By the way, the links below also have other great netiquette tips!)
Even Microsoft has something to say on this! There are wikis about email etiquette, news articles (the Globe and Mail, the New York Times) , business articles (Inc., Business Insider) , etc... Guess what? The prevailing wisdom is that emails should be responded to in anywhere from 24-48 hours! Definitely!
If you are so busy that you cannot respond at all (you’re there but not “away” to require an away message be in place), you are in fact deciding to ignore the Sender — even if for the time being — and that’s exactly what they will assume. You’ve made a decision that their e-mail is not important to you or you would have responded.
There really is no gray area here. Perception is alive and well in regard to how quickly you respond to those who take the time to e-mail you.
- “Reply promptly. If you need to do some research or some thinking before you respond to an email, or if you’re too busy to write a full response promptly, send a short response letting the sender know that you got the email and advising when you will respond.” ~ wikiHow
- “The roaring silence. The pause that does not refresh. The world is full of examples of how the anonymity and remove of the Internet cause us to write and post things that we later regret. But what of the way that anonymity and remove sometimes leave us dangling like a cartoon character that has run off a cliff?” ~ NY Times
- “Respond in a timely fashion. Unless you work in some type of emergency capacity, it’s not necessary to be available the instant an e-mail arrives. Depending on the nature of the e-mail and the sender, responding within 24 to 48 hours is acceptable. —Duncan” ~ Inc.
- “Reply to your emails — even if the email wasn’t intended for you. It’s difficult to reply to every email message ever sent to you, but you should try to, says Pachter. This includes when the email was accidentally sent to you, especially if the sender is expecting a reply.” ~ Business Insider
- “Just because someone doesn’t ask for a response doesn’t mean you ignore them. Always acknowledge emails from those you know in a timely manner.” ~ Email Etiquette
- “Answer swiftly. Customers send an e-mail because they wish to receive a quick response. If they did not want a quick response they would send a letter or a fax. Therefore, each e-mail should be replied to within at least 24 hours, and preferably within the same working day. If the email is complicated, just send an email back saying that you have received it and that you will get back to them. This will put the customer’s mind at rest and usually customers will then be very patient!” ~ 32 most important email etiquette tips
So… Go ahead, make my day! Email me!