“We will respond in 5 business days”

By Renae Gregoire | Customer experience

Jan 21
How to disappoint people who email you

Chasing down broken emails  

Just this morning, I filled out a form on the Holiday Inn Express website because they're sending me email messages I can't read.

Here's what I see:​

Broken in the browser, too

I use Outlook, which presents this message for all emails with images: "If there are problems with how this message is displayed, click here to view it in a web browser."

Well, I did that, and saw an identical image in my browser. (I'm not uploading the image here; it looks identical to what you see in the previous screenshot.)​

The reason I even bothered to fill out IHG's contact form in the first place is because this is the second such email they sent me:​

  • The first when I published a review about one of their properties in Charlotte​
  • The second to notify me that someone had commented on my review

Broken everywhere!

Yet after I filled out the online form to ask for help in viewing the emails they're sending -- because I can't find the reviews area on their website so I can see my review and how someone replied to it -- this is what I saw:

"Please allow 5 business days for us to review and respond to your concern"?

IHG, that's pretty crappy.​

If you have so much customer email that it takes your people up to five days to respond, then you should task more people with answering emails.​

The lesson to you, and to me?​

Respond quickly enough to people, and you may delight readers.

Respond within four hours, and you'll be meeting expectations, as I discussed in a previous blog post.

Respond in 5 days? Your readers may feel, as I do right now, disgusted.

Photo source: Holiday Inn Express​


About the Author

Renae Gregoire is a marketing writer, editor, critical thinker, obsessive questioner, and excellent-results deliverer. Although writing is her talent, empathy is her Super Power; she combines both into a potent formula for creating content experiences that lead more people to YES!

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