We all get Weekend Emails
We’ve all been there before, right? You’re out, enjoying time with friends or family and then you get that email. It’s from a client, so you feel compelled to open it up. And as you read the email, you start wondering what’s the best approach.
After all, if you reply right away, you’re basically conditioning your clients to constantly expect rapid response – even on the weekend. Do this for long and you’ll have no life.
On the other hand, if you don’t react, you could come across as “too” casual and potentially lose your client.
It feels like there are no good answers – no good options. So what’s a person to do? Well I don’t know if there’s a “right” answer. But I can tell you my approach.
Sometimes they really are Urgent
Before I step you into my thinking and process, let’s admit something that we need to agree on. You and I both know that sometimes the emails we get on the weekend are legit. They really are urgent and immediate attention is required.
Even if you’ve never had a client with an e-commerce site whose solution suddenly fails, losing tens of thousands of dollars an hour with it, surely you can agree with me that some situations require serious and immediate attention.
Of course those situations never feel like they happen on weekdays from nine to five. No, they show up at midnight or two in the morning, on the weekend.
So yes, sometimes the emails we get really are urgent. But that’s not most of them, right?
Clients & Situations dictate Urgency
Now, the other thing we should agree on is that situations aren’t the only reason an email could be considered critical and cause you to put on your cape and start working on the weekend. Situations are a valid reason. But so are certain clients.
You know what I’m talking about, right? Certain clients pay you a premium and they’re the ones you’re constantly trying to please – because sometimes it feels like they have an unlimited budget.
When the right client emails – regardless of what the issue is – you step up. That’s how that works. I know it. You know it. I just want to get all the caveats out there so you don’t circle back and suggest there was an aspect I was missing.
The Best Way to Approach Me
All that said, let’s assume the email doesn’t come from a set of really key customers, and that it also doesn’t represent a work-stoppage situation where millions of dollars in transactions are getting lost.
Let’s just assume the email comes from a regular client and is a “just” email.
You know what a “just” email is – it’s the email that uses the word “just” in a way that isn’t referencing justice. Instead, it’s attempting to suggest something small in nature.
It’s “just” an integration with Salesforce and I think the API is already in place. It’s “just” adding a simple e-commerce solution to sell an e-book. It’s “just” something small.
Let me tell you right now what I tell all of my clients and what I hope you tell yours: the best way to approach me in an email (on the weekend or during the week) is to re-read your email once before you send it and remove all uses of “just” unless you’re talking about being right and true.
The Worst Way to Approach Me
But let’s assume the worst. The email comes in, it’s not from a key client and it’s not work stoppage. And it does have “just” all throughout it. What then?
Well, let me add a couple more nuances to the worst way to approach me (and maybe you), so that you can see it in black and white and share this with your clients.
When I get an email that not only says “just” but also uses any of the following terms, I start getting really unhappy.
- Absolute failure
- Right away
Do you see what these words have in common? They’re extreme.
I know I’ll keep getting weekend “just” extreme emails but I really wish I didn’t. (Just throwing that out there.)
My Standard Approach
So given all the above, here’s what I do with those weekend emails.
First, I read all of them. Even if I decide not to act on them, I read every one. Some I skim, others I read thoroughly. But I read them.
Then, I evaluate whether this is a serious work-stoppage, money-losing, holy-hell-that’s-bad issue. If it is, I get on the phone and call my client. No use sending emails back and forth, if things are bad, getting face to face or on the phone is critical.
But assuming it’s not critical, I then reply. Yes, I’m one of those guys who replies to emails on the weekend. I know some people suggest that this encourages more emails on the weekend, but I don’t think that’s the case. Because you haven’t seen what I send yet.
The point is that I want people to know I’ve been paying attention. I want them to know I received their email and that I have plans to act (even if it won’t be right away). Plus, it takes me virtually no time.
Here’s why – I have a template. Since I’m using my phone, it’s in notepad. So all I do is copy the text and paste it into my reply.
How do you deal with Weekend Emails?
So tell me – how do you deal with weekend emails? Do you reply to them? Do you ignore them until you have free time? Do you just wait until Monday?
I want to know…so use the comments to chime in and share your secrets.