Think Twice Before Hitting Delete


As we go through our daily activities at work, I’m sure that we all get inundated with a ton of emails from all sorts of people: marketers, vendors, partners, spammers, etc.

For the most part, many of these emails are visibly spam and can safely be tossed into the trash without any acknowledgment. But then there are those personalized emails that are very obviously coming from a legitimate address and person politely asking you to engage in some type of service they might be offering.

Unlike many others I’m assuming, I actually feel bad ignoring these types of emails that come from real people, and not some automated email system. Everyone goes to a job every day to support their lives and that email is a part of what they do, so would it really hurt to just simply respond to them? Even if it’s just a one liner? Of course not.

If they are trying to sell you something, that’s fine, you don’t have to comply, but a courteous response simply acknowledging the email could go a long way and will probably mean more to them than trying to generate a lead anyway.

Anytime I’ve taken the time to respond, I’ve always gotten a polite response back with so much gratitude for just responding – because it just doesn’t happen that often in this world of constant mail jail. Another benefit is that this interaction could potentially help expand your professional network. I’ve gained at least a few valuable contacts through the simple act of replying to these cold emails and making that human connection. Imagine what you might be missing out on if you simply just hit ‘delete’.

The same idea can be applied to when you’re on the phone with an agent regarding your bill and at the end of the call they have their 5 minute spiel on a special offering. Again, Bob, the agent isn’t trying to annoy you, he’s just doing his job, so instead of cutting him off and ending the call abruptly, maybe consider allowing them to simply finish and then politely decline the offering – or you may surprise yourself and actually want to ponder whatever it is they might be sharing. The point is, don’t hit the brakes without experiencing the ride.

So just some food for thought the next time you are pondering just trashing that note about offering Brita water services to your office or the memo from Sue Smith asking if you require any assistance after having downloaded a white paper. The simple act of just replying can go a long way.


The image in this post can be found here.

11 thoughts on “Think Twice Before Hitting Delete

  1. Well said. Emails, phone call from banks offering a certain free for life credit card, etc. We often call these things annoyances, and whenever we receive such, we are quick to dismiss them; often forgetting that the person is trying to make a living as much as you are.

    However I’ve been on the line with a really persistent sales person – demanding that I do whatever he/she said immediately. I can’t stand really pushy people.

    1. Thank you for your comments and yes of course you should only respond and interact at your discretion. Phone calls are similar in that depending on the situation, we should at least humour the agent while they give their spiel on whatever they are trying to sell, because we know it’s not them, it’s part of their job and then just politely decline if not interested. It’s not easy doing customer service and when you put the brakes on that upfront, it probably just dampens that person’s day and it’s just better to not add to that. 🙂

      1. Well Sarah, for some reason I started getting phone calls from a trading company advertising Forex trading. The sales person sounded like an African, calling from a Bulgarian phone number.
        Now the only reason I entertained the call was because in my job, crew members call me from various parts of the world. I thought it was an emergency.
        The sales person was friendly at first and I listened to her pitch. Then I politely declined. She then became really pushy. She demanded that I login on my computer and look at a website. She wasn’t going to take, “I’m sorry I’m not interested” as an answer.
        After a few minutes of repeating the same line over and over again to her, I had enough and told her, “Make Me!”
        That ended it for that day.
        Of course this wasn’t the end of the story. Others called from the same site. Again being polite, listened, declined. Each one was more determined than the one before. And to top it off, they were all calling from different branches of the company.. numbers from U.K., Russia, Bulgaria… never ceased. When I declined one person, 2 minutes later, another one. Relentless to the point that looked like harassment.
        Till one point, I answered the phone and gave them a bit of boot full.
        I answered and before the person online could say anything, I said, “I’m sorry you are in this crappy position that you asked to continuously harass someone who really is not interested in whatever you have to offer. I have heard 20 of your colleagues tell me about your site and your system, I have seen your site (researched previously) and I am still not interested. There is nothing you can say or do to convince me. Therefore I request that you leave me alone or I’m filing harassment charges.”

        Never got a call again.

      2. Thank you for your comments! Yes I agree, it can become quite unnerving at times if you do entertain a call – that’s why it’s really your own judgement call. Sometimes kindness unfortunately gets taken advantage of to the point of harassment and then you have no choice but to be stern and firm with them so that they give you the respect of honouring your wishes.

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