A former student of mine sent me the link to a great blog article posted by Fast Company entitled “2010: The Year of Saying ‘I Got It’ “. The focus of the article, written by Lynette Chiang, is how companies, as well as individuals, have gotten into the habit of not responding to inquiries – they don’t tell you “I got it”. Telling people you received what they sent you, or that you got their message, is a closure conversation and it completes something for them. As the author of the article points out, when we don’t know if the person we are corresponding with received what we sent them, it creates uncertainty, leads to resentment, a loss of trust, and damages your reputation.
Most of us have experiences similar to those reported by Lynette. I once order some electronic marketing materials online with a “money back guarantee”. When I downloaded it and found it did give me what I wanted, I emailed and called the seller – multiple times. At no time did he respond (sorry, I don’t remember the seller’s name), so I finally contacted my credit card company, went through their processes, and eventually got my money back. Interestingly, even though I don’t remember the seller, I do remember one of the people who endorsed him (whom I also contacted and who didn’t respond) and I will no longer consider his products either. Unfortunately, not only do the people who “don’t respond” hurt themselves, they cast a shadow of doubt over everyone else in the business.
But “no response” is not limited just to businesses. How many people do you send replies to when they send you something important? How many people tell you when they got the report, the email, the proposal, or any number of other things you invested in providing them? Is your opinion of them higher or lower as a result?
Telling people “I got it” does not take much. Telling people “I got it” is a simple closure conversation, but it makes a world of difference to them and to your reputation. Tell people “I got it” and see what happens.