I was watching a commentator last week suggest that the same etiquette afforded to returning phone calls and emails should be observed by returning text messages you receive. I nearly choked at the assumption that he was suggesting that people return phone calls and emails, and thus should have the same respect for text messages.
While the goal of good communication is one that operates both ways, as a general rule in business we don’t return emails and phone calls quickly unless they are from the boss. Peers, staff and external people are left to wonder if their messages have been received and read. This lack of respect for people’s time by a quick reply of “got it, busy, back to you in a day” just goes unanswered so others are left to follow-up several times.
I agree that all communications need to be answered if they are specific to us. General SPAM, or computer generated calls can go unanswered. But when someone is asking you for something, or even pitching you something you don’t need, want or will ever use, take a few seconds and answer them.
My clients and friends have learned that I return all communications rather quickly, so they rarely have to follow-up. And if I don’t it means that technology failed us and I had no idea they were trying to reach me. Aside from the fact that this is a respectful way to treat people I work with, I practice the Golden Rule in hopes others will do the same for me.