Please read email before responding

I guess I should file this post under “rants”.  I usually try to avoid full-out ranting because it never seems to sound very eloquent, however, this not only drives me a little crazy, it leads to lower productivity for no good reason and I want to get it out.

I am planning a trip to the Netherlands and Germany and will be driving around the country.  I’m leaving in a week and am trying to iron out the details.  One of the details, obviously, is to rent a car.  I have realized that there are a lot of details, fees, exceptions, etc. to worry about when renting a car (first timer!).  I found a website that has a lot of great information and I liked that the website invited customers to ask questions via email or phone and that they genuinely seemed to want to hear from you.  So, in true Gen-Y fashion, I sent an email to their customer service email address with some of the questions that I couldn’t find answers to on their site.

I am meticulous in making my emails as clear as possible in these types of situations; I numbered my questions in list-format and provided context as to my travel plans.  Yet, every email they sent back to me neglected to answer my questions. Their answers were somewhat related to at least one of my questions, but they had quite obviously not fully read my email.  For example, one of my questions was about where I could pick the car up in downtown Amsterdam near the central train station specifically, and so they sent me a quote as if I was picking the car up at the airport, with no reference to my original question at all and I had not once requested a quote.

It is most definitely a pet peeve of mine when people respond to an email and quite obviously have not actually read it.  It makes me feel like my email wasn’t important enough to them to read it thoroughly or seek clarification.  You could say this post is about customer service, but I really think it’s about common decency when communicating via email.  I wish picking up the phone was a much better experience, but that’s a whole other post.

Please – before responding, read your email.

Krysty Wideen is a learning and organizational development consultant with The Refinery Leadership Partners, based in Vancouver. Failing to leave her day job at work, she often finds herself relating every day, commonplace observations and activities to insights about leadership, business, human resources, and anything, really. Now she has a place to share her observations and insights.


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