Responding Promptly

“Life is a gift,
and I try to respond
with grace and courtesy

Maya Angelou

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Usually, when we ask someone a question, we expect a response (aside from the occasional rhetorical question…).  Along the same vein, when someone asks us a question, we usually anticipate a response is expected in return.  For example, when we send invitations we include RSVP (French for “repondez s’il vous plait,” which means “please respond”).

These days responding to someone has been made easier because we have so many ways of doing so.  We can text, Tweet, email, call, Skype, IM or post a reply.  We can do so instantaneously because technology gives us that ability. 

In a recent article in Huff Post’s News & Trends they cite a new study commissioned by Conversocial and conducted by Assistant Professor of Communications Liel Leibovitz at New York University.  The article states, “The survey revealed the majority (50.7 percent) of consumers say they currently use social media to communicate with businesses. What’s more, 78 percent believe that social media platforms will either soon entirely replace other means of customer service, or become the dominant way for consumers to communicate with businesses”.

The article goes on to say, “The bad news is customers aren’t getting what they want from these interactions.  Just 8 percent report being satisfied or very satisfied with businesses’ responsiveness on social media.   Almost one-third says their complaints or messages had been ignored by companies.  And a whopping 88 percent say if they see that their or other customers’ complaints on social media are ignored, they’d be less likely to buy from those companies in the future”.  

The quality of one’s response could be measured by its promptness and courteousness.  The Conversocial survey indicates the expectation of a response is not always mutually shared.  And no response leaves an impression as well…


Take, for instance, the recruiting process.  These days a recruiting presence utilizing social media (LinkedIn, Face Book, etc.) is expected.   Companies and candidates alike are using social media to recruit and apply more and more.  But I often hear of candidates that are left to wonder the status of their online application because they never receive a reply from the company or only receive an email that says “We have received your application, please don’t respond to this email; basically (“Don’t call us, we’ll call you”).

And They’ll Tell Someone Who’ll Tell Someone…

In this economy with its related unemployment, companies receive hundreds of responses to each position opening.  In most instances only one candidate can be hired.  But the reputation of a company is linked to how all candidates are treated and today’s also ran for a position may be tomorrow’s prime choice for another.  I can assure you candidates talk with each other and the word gets around; “XYZ Company never gets back to you”.

Not every store sells something for everyone.  However, a focus on good customer service for all that enter is essential to making sales and establishing a good reputation.  And so it should go with recruiting and hiring.  If an individual takes the time to respond to a job posting, they deserve a prompt response that acknowledges their interest and its value to your company.  And if you ask them in for an interview and you tell them they’ll hear from you by Friday, then honor your word.

Quality or Quantity

These days good customer service is still expected.  Even though our avenues of communication are numerous and quick, their effectiveness can be limited by the lack of human interaction and damaged by a slow or no response.  Customer Service is just another way of saying “treat others well”.   It’s essential in dealing with customers, candidates and each other in the workplace.  I believe there are several areas where the convenience of current communications technology actually hurts communication and weakens communication skills and customer service if used haphazardly.     More on that in March.

Here to serve,

John Duba

Next month: Responding Appropriately

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