Why bother with email?

Before I go too far I should point out that this is not a discussion about whether I believe email has had it’s day as a form of modern communication, but more about why people bother to have email addresses when they clearly don’t know much about them, namely businesses. Quite often small businesses. And when I say ‘don’t know much about them’, well sometimes I’m not sure they know they even have them.

It started last year when my wife and I were planning to get married. I like to say my wife and I, not because we’re married (which is great of course) but more because in this context it makes it sound like I had something to do with the planning of our wedding. I didn’t really. And that’s a good thing. My wife however was busy organising our venue, flowers, music, table decorations, other stuff…and because there were so many people/small companies to deal with, and they were about 250 miles from where we live, email would, and should have been one of the easiest forms of communications. Especially as the majority of the small companies in question had websites, and therefore contact pages with email.

My wife started become rather frustrated quite quickly though with the lack of response she received when emailing said small companies. She nagged me about it. It then became frustrating for me too. I tried to explain that most of these companies were based in Lincolnshire, which is where I grew up so I know it well. I also know that technologically Lincolnshire is generally lagging about 20 years behind the rest of the UK. Therefore it made sense that these small companies had set up websites (with help I imagine) and also email, but checked it about as regularly as they check the weather forecast for London.

My wife didn’t understand, but reverted back to good old fashioned phone calls and text messages. Just of late though I’ve required the services of a cycle shop, but before I pay out money I require advice on my cycle issue. I haven’t had much time of late and so have had to resort to looking at the local cycle shop’s website and emailing them to ask for advice. I have not been particularly successful. Of all 6 emails I sent out almost a week ago, I’ve had one response. The one response I did receive was a one-liner asking me to pop into the shop. Sometimes companies could be accused of overbearing customer service, this shop most certainly could not be accused of being overbearing, in fact they could not be accused of providing any customer service at all.

So they don’t read their emails either. It’s not just a Lincolnshire thing, I therefore apologise to all from Lincolnshire (including myself) for thinking them lacking in the email department, when clearly it’s a UK-wide thing. Could it even be a global issue.

It does raise a quandary though, why do people bother to put an email option on their website if they don’t bother to either check their email or respond. Has email had it’s day? I’d say not, not just yet, but don’t advertise it if you’re not going to provide that service. There are 6 cycle shops I’ve emailed in this area, none of which are going to get my business. Fortunately I still have a long list of cycle shops to go…

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