The Simple Acknowledgement

“The sender has requested a read receipt be sent. Would you like to send one?” 

These make my skin crawl whenever I receive them, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I’ve selected “yes” and allowed one to be sent. For something so minor it seems oddly intrusive, and yet I can understand what would prompt a serial read receipt sender to do so. Once you click “send” on an email, you’re left at the mercy of the recipient. Are they working on your request? Are they waiting on a reply from someone else, too? Did they even read your email, or worse, did they read it and now they’ve forgotten about it, and you have to negotiate how long to wait before you send a follow-up?! I can feel you reading this, and you’re asking me “Who hurt you?” and the answer is that far too many unanswered emails have.  

What if I were to tell you that there’s a better way?

One that’s a staple of good customer service, and indeed, even good relationships, work-related or otherwise? The answer is in a simple acknowledgement.  

 “Yes, let me reach out to marketing and get that information for you” 
 “No, let me find that out and I’ll let you know shortly” 
 “I don’t know! Let me work on this and I’ll get back to you” 
 “Understood! Thank you” 
Sending a quick reply (assuming the issue can’t be immediately addressed) alleviates the anxiety of the sender, letting them know that they’ve been heard. It also buys you time to work on the request without wondering who you have and haven’t gotten back to! Here are 5 reasons why it's such a good idea to respond in a timely manner. 

Workflow suggestions

There are a lot of good workflow suggestions for how to manage your inbox, but they all essentially boil down to acknowledging the receipt of a message, and then setting some sort of task or reminder to complete the request when it makes sense in your schedule. Different CRMs allow you to create tasks and email providers have add-ons, or even let you drag emails directly to your calendar, allowing you to clear the message from your inbox while transferring the email contents directly to the notes of the task. Find out what works best for you and your work set up.