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The Importance of E-mail

Remember when e-mail was something only the true technologically advanced people used?  It was a novelty then, something that the general public couldn’t see themselves using. Times have changed. Even the U.S. Postal Service has felt the impact of a world communicating via e-mail.  In my experience, I see the bigger businesses embracing e-mail as an integral part of their business.  But in the rural area I live in and have worked in, small business owners somehow haven’t come onboard yet. Perhaps it’s just the employers I’ve worked for, but if my former employers had a ‘take it, or leave it’ attitude, I would bet there are many more out there like them.
This is my experience with e-mail in my former workplace(s).  My employers had e-mail accounts, which they checked once a day, if that. Occasionally one of my employers would forward me business correspondence that was several weeks old and ask me to take care of it because it had been buried in his inbox and he hadn’t noticed it.  Our customers would call and complain that they had e-mailed one of our bosses or a co-worker and never received a reply.  My co-worker, had to be reminded several times a day to check her e-mail for vital information and no matter how many times I showed her how to keep Outlook open with new message notification, it still was never running.  These are just a few examples of reluctance to incorporate e-mail into the workplace.
What my former co-worker and employers didn’t realize is that not being e-mail savvy put the business at a disadvantage.  Today’s customers and clients expect to be able to correspond via e-mail. And when they do, they want a quick response of some sort.  The faster you send a response, the happier that customer/client is going to be.  Not responding to e-mails in a timely manner reflects poorly on the business. It sends the message that either you don’t care or you’re inadequate.  And in the case of my co-worker, it slowed down the entire office and our ability to get work completed.  They were missing out on an opportunity to market the business and make important business relationships; all via e-mail.
A swift e-mail reply to an inquiry immediately makes a customer/client feel important, even if that reply simply states that you will look into a matter further.  It also gives them a feeling of connecting with you personally. And that makes them feel extremely important to you and your business.  It may seem like a small thing, but it makes a big impact.  Because when a customer/client feels important, they’ll do business with you again not to mention telling others about what a great business you are.  That’s worth the time it takes to check your e-mail several times a day isn’t it? 
Think you’re too busy to do that? Or you’re out of the office too much? Many busy executives have an employee or virtual assistant who manages their e-mail for them, freeing them to answer only the ones requiring their personal responses, while still replying in some form to all of them. 
If you’re not utilizing e-mail to it’s potential in your business, you could be losing business. After all, it could be the competition is.

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