My biggest pet peeve in the business world is someone that takes days to get back to me. We are connected to our emails all the time. If it’s a simple question, why does it take days to get an answer from people? Why aren’t people more interested in responding as fast as they can? I can’t speak for everyone, as I know that some people do get hundreds of emails a day. But there’s ways to filter out what is crucial and what can wait a few hours. So why does a person end up waiting a week for a response?
When I started a business and launched a personal website, it was my goal to always respond to emails within twenty-four hours. I knew this was going to be a daunting task, as not every email can get a detailed response in that time. It’s just not always possible. My reasoning behind it was simply that I was tired of not hearing back about questions that were most likely a two word response. I would have bosses that would say, “I’ll get back to you,” and then never get back to me, or I would get answers a week later, when I had already gone through a battle to figure out my own problem. What kind of environment is that—one where people don’t see their email as important as their face to face communication with people?
So don’t be that person. Don’t be that boss. And definitely don’t be that entitled to not get back to your emails. Your business depends on it.
You will either be hired for your timelines or denied for your absence.
If you’re just starting a business, you can’t afford to let people wait. The longer they wait, the more time your competitor has to respond. A day is a long time in a world built with technology. We want decisions, and we want them quick. If you think your website design or your accounting is more important than answering a potential client’s email, you’re not going to have that client much longer. Your competitors have learned the twenty-four hour rule trick, and it’s going to be exactly why they will keep succeeding.
Quick responses impress people.
I can’t tell you how many times people are surprised by my timeliness. Is this a thing now, that people aren’t getting lazy enough to take their time with responding? Don’t be that person. Blow people away with your attention to communication. People are going to want to be able to get ahold of you, so let them.
The longer you wait, the easier you forget.
I have noticed that when I don’t respond to an email right away, I tend to forget it is there. I have so much going on in life that I can’t afford to forget about an email! If I take the time out of my day to respond when I have the chance, I won’t be forgetting. Forgetting about an email is embarrassing and doesn’t make it look like you have your head in the right place.
You can sleep more.
Instead of spending the end of your day reading email or the start of your day reading a list of emails from the day before, clear them out as soon as you can. I find that I don’t spend a lot of time reading my emails at night but instead can spend more time writing, something I would prefer to do when I am at my most creative time of the day. If you develop the habit of clearing your inbox, you can clear your mind too at the end of the night.
People will trust you
Call me crazy, but I have a hard time trusting people who don’t get back to me in a timely fashion. Like what could possibly be more important than my request if I am paying you for something or if I am working for you? People trust those who are responsive and honest. Sometimes, the quickest email isn’t always the easiest email to send. It doesn’t matter. People will be more comfortable with someone who has put their employee or their client before their work.
It may seem tedious, it may tiring, but respond to your emails. Don’t leave people hanging, and most certainly don’t put anything off for later. The longer the wait, the quicker you’ll be out of business.
About the author
Liz is a graduate from the University of Minnesota in Sports Management. She’s worked countless jobs in sports but currently spends her time working in retail, traveling the world, lifting, and marrying people. See more at