How to Enhance E-Mail Response - Part 1 15 Reasons Why E-mails Fail to Elicit Response

Why people do not respond to my e-mail ? Heard that anguished question before ? Well, I hear that so often and try to explain intricacies of e-mail communication so many times - that led me to write this article. Hopefully, I shall be able to refer the questioner to this article next time.

There may be several reasons why your e-mails go un-answered - and many of the reasons may be traced back to you ! It is true that the recipient may be unwilling or deliberately deleting your mails without responding, but at the same time - there is a fair chance that you are committing some grave errors in your e-mail communication.

It is unfair to jump to a conclusion on recipient's attitude - the fault may as well lie with you !

Sounds bizarre ? Well - let us logically examine all possible angles why an e-mail communication fails. We shall analyze various reasons, examine common mistakes and goof-ups, develop a check-list and finally arrive at specific measures that can significantly enhance response rate.

Reasons for Failure of e-mail communication

You have sent an e-mail to John last week - but have not received any response so far. Let us consider various reasons why John, apparently, is not responding to your e-mail:

Scenario - A : John receives your e-mail..

  • Case 1 : John decides not to respond

  • Case 2 : John is undecided or waiting for something he will respond later

  • Case 3 : John feels your e-mail does not deserve a response

  • Case 4 : John is on vacation

  • Case 5 : John deletes your mail without reading, thinking it to be another spam or virus

  • Case 6 : John receives your garbled e-mail and decides its too much taxing, deciphering your mail (perhaps you sent html formatted mail that John's mail client read as plain text)

Scenario - B : John Does Not Receive Your Mail...

  • Case 7 : John's ISP, personal Firewall or mail filter deletes your mail before it reaches John's mailbox

  • Case 8 : You have wrongly typed john's e-mail address

  • Case 9 : John no longer uses this e-mail address

  • Case 10 : Your ISP fails to deliver mail

Scenario - C : John responds but you do not receive....

  • Case 11 : John uses wrong e-mail address

  • Case 12 : You have placed wrong e-mail address in 'From:' or 'Reply To:' column of your e-mail

  • Case 13 : You use multiple e-mail boxes (all free of course !) to send mails, however check only one or two for incoming mail.

  • Case 14 : Your ISP Or mail filter blocks John's e-mail

  • Case 15 : John's ISP fails to deliver mail

Confusing ? All along you thought John is the culprit, dodging your e-mails. Now, you will have to take into account other agents between you and John.

Let's give John a break and examine what factors within your control may be contributing to this communication failure. We shall examine common mistakes and goof-ups that lead to no-response situation.

Happy and Safe Surfing

Dr. Amit K Chatterjee

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Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 5, Issue 4 ; August 12' 2004

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at )

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