Let’s say, hypothetically, I emailed you about getting tracking for a package.
Well, let’s back up. Let’s say, again hypothetically, that about five days ago I had emailed you to arrange a shipment to someone. You are the shipping department. (Hypothetically.)
In my email, I explain what I need, where it’s going, and right before I sign off, I say (and I quote…hypothetically), “Please send me the tracking information as soon as you have it.”
A few hours later, let’s say you email me back, and the body of the email is simply a 9-digit number.
Can we pause our hypothetical situation for a second?
Okay, first, based on the context clues, it isn’t crazy for me to assume that the 9-digit number is my tracking number, right?
Well, let’s just say that I know for a fact that it’s not a UPS number (let’s just say, for example, that I’ve worked somewhere where I did a lot of UPS shipping, and I know what a UPS tracking number looks like). So maybe I assume it must be a FedEx number.
But, because in this scenario I’m a careful person who only wants to give someone the proper information, I email you back and ask if it’s a FedEx tracking number.
Let’s say, let’s just say you email me back and retort, “That’s the order number.”
I have a number of issues with that. First, why would I assume that? Was there something about the way you typed out those nine digits that implied it was any specific kind of number? It could have been your social security number for all I know. So I don’t need your sass.
Secondly, did it ever occur to you that simply adding a quick, “Order #” as a preface to the 9-digit number could eliminate any confusion as to what the 9-digit number corresponded to?
I don’t know about you, but if I can cut a conversation down to two emails, I’m going to do it. Too much back and forth in text form just gets cumbersome. I am going to send you the most detailed email possible just to diminish the possibility you will need to get back in touch.
Apparently, I am alone in that.
Now back to our (hypothetical) story. So now that you have not only called out my intelligence (or, rather, clairvoyant abilities), you might think that I will get snappish in return. Not so! I still need something from you, so I’m not about to cut my ties just yet. I reply simply, “Oh, ok. Where can I find the tracking information?”
See what I did there?? Not only am I still asking nicely, I’m also implying that I don’t expect you to do any extra work. I will get the tracking information, allowing you to return to your especially rigorous solitaire game. I just need you to tell me what to do.
Teach a man to fish, people. Teach a man to fish.
But let’s say you don’t want to teach me to fish. If that were the case, you might reply with something like, “the warehouse supplies that, you can’t find it yourself.”
Again, I want to break this down. The incorrect grammar aside (this is an email, after all), you do realize that you are forcing me to send another email, right? And, quite frankly, I think we all know what I’m going to say. Therefore, if you know what my next question will be, isn’t it just good business sense to anticipate the needs of the person you’re talking to?
So let’s continue assuming you didn’t do that. Now I email you again. Guess what I say?
If you guessed, “Ok, how can I get it from them?” congratulations! YOU ARE A HUMAN.
In the end, of this (again, hypothetical) scenario, I still get the tracking. But by my calculations, what took about nine emails could have been solved in no more than three (and that’s counting my “Thank you!” email after I receive the information I need).
Pleasure doing business with you.