I'm still completely shocked at the number of organizations that don't answer emails sent to them from their website or to the contacts listed on their website. Do these companies realize that in all likelihood they just lost a customer by not responding or did damage to their brand?
A case in point was that almost a year ago I was conducting a search for a PR agency. I created a short list of 5-7 agencies through recommendations, Google searches and looking at who got coverage for other companies in our space. Seems like a typical process that many would use in such a search. I reached out to these firms by contacting them through their website to get additional information and to see if they would make the short list of 3 firms that I'd like to meet face-to-face.
I was worried at the time that I had started with too many agencies and that my search would drag on for too long. To my absolute surprise, 2 or 3 of these agencies never responded making the creation of the short list much easier than I thought as they were immediately removed. My thinking was that if they couldn't respond to an email interested in hiring them then would they ever respond to an editor who wanted to cover us in a story? These were PR firms who are paid to communicate. Imagine that!
This is just one of many examples of companies I can think of that did not respond to emails that I sent to them. I'm sure all of you don't need to think back too far to come up with other examples in either your personal or business life. Why does this happen? Would a business ever not pick up the phone if it rang? Why does the company even bother to put an email address on their website?
While part of this post is clearly a rant brewing in me from last year, I did want to write the post still because I continue to experience a lack of response and know there is an obvious lesson that some companies have failed to grasp. A potential customer that reaches out to you, either by phone, email or other means, is far more qualified than someone that you cold-called.
So you need to follow-up and respond to them as quickly as possible because that person is clearly interested in your company and could buy your product, write about your company, or help you in some other way. By not responding or waiting a long time to respond, you have lost that opportunity and you may have even damaged your brand as they could spread the fact that you are unresponsive.
The simple lesson in all of this is that if someone takes the time to send you an email then you need to respond to that email within a couple of business hours. If not, then don't bother having an email contact on your website as it's doing more harm than good. Respond to those emails now, what are you waiting for?