Ditch instant replies.
Written by Vivienne Kruckow
Since leaping into business last year, the one thing that continues to shock me is how darn accessible we (the business owners) are supposed to be.
Because, let’s face it: our audience can catch us on a *lot* of channels. There’s the traditional methods of emails and phone calls, which have now been expanded to include several different messaging apps, social media accounts and company pages on third party sites.
And let’s not forget the odd cases of snail mail and letters via owl.
If you’re not careful (I.e. you haven’t switched over your privacy settings), your correspondents can see when you were last online and whether or not you’ve read their inquiries.
Personally, I find it all a little (overwhelmingly) daunting. You see, I suck at instant replies anyway. Ask any of my family members or friends - the only person I respond to immediately is my partner James, and that’s only because our texts usually involve food.
If I still used it, my MSN status would be set to *avoiding instant contact* - permanently.
That doesn’t mean I don’t check my emails regularly or jump into the comments as often as I can; it’s just become my way of coping with forever being plugged into our overly digital world.
My lovely pal Jarrah recently spoke about a similar subject on her Instagram Stories, which discussed turning off notifications on her phone. It’s a practice I’ve lived by for quite a few months and it’s done wonders for my overall health and my relationship with devices.
I used to check everything. All the freaking time.
I’m sure my dopamine levels were through the roof with all the little *dings* I was getting throughout the day. I, like many from my generation, was addicted to the validation.
The buzz of a like or a comment was taking over my very existence - interrupting conversations, muting a song, waking me from sleep. You name it, my phone disrupted it.
I think, interestingly, the final straw was in fact my emails. I’m such a sucker for signing up to email lists to get discount codes, and my frugal ways ultimately got the better of me. With Princess Polly emailing every freaking day, it had to come to an end.
And the easiest end was to, of course, simply hide the messages.
You might be reading this and thinking, wow, she doesn’t even want to speak to me when I message her. And that my friend, is simply not true.
I honestly, truly, love a good chat. And I much prefer emailing over phone calls when it comes to official work stuff. I just need to process it in my own time.
I like to go slowly and read a message a couple of times. Mull over the words and consider the best, most efficient response. Then hit send. Because there’s nothing more annoying (in my opinion) than when someone replies instantly, but clearly hasn’t read what you’ve written to them.
Although this post could easily fall down the rabbit hole of email etiquette, I want it to serve as a reminder of sorts, for the days when I’m feeling not “switched on enough” or “replying fast enough” - and I hope it helps you too.
Building a brand comes with a lot of pressure. You want to be online. Always. You want to be providing your audience with value and insight. Always. You want to establish trust through a series of candid encounters. Always.
But ‘always’ isn’t sustainable, especially when you’re a small business or a one-woman show.
So I’m calling out instant replies. They’re no longer mandatory in my books. I never want anyone who contacts Rust (my biz) to feel bad about taking too long to get back to us.
Keep your sorrys - you’re officially excused for the rest of our business relationship.
If you take a few days to get back to me - fine, no worries. If you go on holidays and forget to tell me in our DM chat - no stress, enjoy your break! If you decide you need an internet detox and go MIA for awhile - you do you, girl (just don’t expect me to make any major decisions without your approval in the meantime).
So from here on out, I’m accepting responses written by regular humans who have busy lives and businesses and need a break from their inbox too. They may arrive instantly or in a few days - and regardless of response time they’ll be catered to equally and kindly.
Because I understand.