Call me old-fashioned, but I’m with Susan Bird in her plea for people to answer phone calls and emails. She asks, in Old Rules, New Rules, whether it is perhaps pre-Internet thinking to expect people to respond to your communications in a timely way. She cites a website on Email Etiquette that recommends:
“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!”
Well, I acknowledge that sometimes that’s not possible, and I have been guilty of slow responses on occasion. But worse yet, and Bird bemoans this, too, is the habit of some individuals of simply not responding at all. Should we assume that no-reply is an unspoken communication itself? Or in the case of email, should we suspect something has gone awry in cyberspace?