Not long ago I read the book the four hour workweek by Tim Ferris. One of the things that Tim talks about in this book is the use of an auto responder to reduce incoming email and free up time.
I have long struggled with the email. In fact, one of the most popular posts on this blog is about my struggles with email.
I decided to give this tactic a go. I’ll include my auto responder at the bottom of this post.
But more importantly, here’s what I learned…
I went into this experiment with the intention better serving the people that email. By reducing my email, I should be able to spend more time on clients. I tried to direct people to speak with my director of operations who handles most of account management. I put my phone number in the autoresponder and requested that people call me if it was urgent.
My intention in doing this was never to be rude nor dismissive but rather to better serve everyone and make my life easier.
Intentions don’t mean much.
Even though I went into this experiment with the best intentions, the reaction from people was unanimous. They hated it!
I had no idea how badly this would blow up in my face. I was just trying to reduce my email so I could get more work done for my clients and grow my business.
Perhaps it was the tone of my email auto response, perhaps it was something else… But most likely it was that people didn’t like to feel ignored or dismissed.
I nearly lost a partner over this, I lost a client over this, And I learned a valuable lesson along the way.
Effective communication is essential to business
The client that I lost Felt that it was too difficult to get in touch with me. He was right. Unfortunately by the time I realized this the damage had been done.
It doesn’t matter how smart you are, It doesn’t matter how hard you work, sometimes what matters most is how you make people feel.
No one, especially in business, wants to feel as if they’re not important enough to speak with you.
I learned this lesson the hard way. Lesson learned.
Here’s the ineffective communication that I tried, so you can avoid making the same mistake:
Clients, and speaking opportunities should contact Alyssa Lettman, Director of Operations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This is for new business inquiries ONLY.
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Thank you in advance for understanding this move to more efficiency and effectiveness.
It helps me accomplish more to serve you better.