The art of answering
Managing Partner Agentur eder
There’s understandably a lot of pandemic-induced frustration around at the moment. But today I’d like to shift the focus to a positive side effect of Covid-19:
“Since the coronavirus hit, when we send a message with a specific enquiry or query, most of the time we actually get a reply!”
– Robert Laub, Managing Partner Agentur eder
That may sound trivial, but on a day-to-day basis it’s far from it. Pre-corona, answers to written enquiries or questions would often go unanswered.
I’m talking here about enquiries or queries sent to a particular person in the broader working context. In pre-Covid times, we were seeing a couple of basic trends:
- The probability of getting an answer reduced disproportionately as the size of the company you’re dealing with increased.
- The more senior the person you were writing to, the greater the probability of getting a reply.
“Pre-corona, answers to written enquiries or questions would often go unanswered.”
But shame on anyone who suggested this might be a systematic issue!
There’s no doubt that both the above scenarios have caused more than a measure of frustration over recent years, especially as they were not restricted to communications with external suppliers. Indeed, many employees at larger companies have reported examples of similar behaviour in internal communications.
I’d rather not go into the reasons for this here; suffice to say that in my view every genuine enquiry or query deserves a proper answer – whether that’s from a contact within the company or beyond.
Has the pandemic really brought about such an improvement in people’s social skills and empathy levels? It’s unlikely, and what has led to what belongs to the realms of speculation. That said, from my observations so far, these developments are directly related to the broader move to working from home (wfh).
The motivation to reply to messages may ultimately be driven by a wfh-induced lack of social contact, a greater sense of appreciation for our fellow human beings or a potentially more focused working environment at home than in an open-plan office.
So I’ll finish with a simple request: please reply – Covid or no Covid.