I know you’re very busy, and I respect the fact that you would like to keep our communications to a once-monthly appointment and then email exclusively beyond that. That’s fine, it saves us both time, and I’m all for electronic communication.
But the thing is, you don’t actually READ the whole email. If I have, let’s say, four issues I cover in an email… on average, I get a response to ONE of them. Or a response that is so vague, that I’m guaranteed to fuck up the order if I try to put it in as you requested. The conversation usually looks something like this… beginning with my email to you, sent at 12:05 pm:
Good afternoon, Winebuyer!
A couple of things… We just got the allocations in for XYZ Cellars To Kalon Vyd Cab, and I’ve got 3 6-packs set aside for you if you want them, at $480 each. I need to know by tomorrow to protect your allocation…
Also, I got your email this morning with the order for this week… Thank you! Just to clarify, you usually order 3 cases of the 2009 for the deepest discount, but your order was for 2 cases of the 2008. Was this for a special order? Which would you like, 2008 or 2009? Cut-off for delivery this week is at 4 pm today.
The warehouse picked up those corked bottles you had, and I have a credit memo for you. I know you like those sent directly to your bookkeeper. Could you send me her fax number please?
Finally, that winemaker event is confirmed for the 12th, right? My winemaker called me this morning and he is booking his flight this afternoon so just need to make sure…
Whew! That’s all for now, Thank you!
And here is your response, sent at 3:55 pm:
Um… Ship the 2008? The 2009? Your entire allocation of XYZ Cellars To Kalon? What about that fax number? Is the 12th okay? OH MY GOSH I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!
So then I call you, and your staff says you’re not accepting phone calls at this time, but feel free to email… try as I might to get them to understand the urgency of this time-sensitive matter (“but it’s 5 minutes to CUT-OFF and you won’t have your WINE TO SELL for the WEEKEND! This is an EMERGENCY!!”), they are a strong and united front and they stand their ground to protect you. Gotta give ’em credit for that.
And I’ll take partial blame here, I do tend to wax on at times via email and perhaps I’m not as concise as I could be in my queries and clarifications. Also, I tend to rely on passive sentence structuring, and I over-punctuate with commas. I just love commas. My college English professor already pointed this out years ago, so at least I’m aware of it… Anyways, that’s beside the point… here’s what I’ll do from now on. Let’s say I revamp the previous email format to look more like this:
Below you will find FOUR items that I need responses to. That’s FOUR as in the number 4. Your requested action items are notated in bold font for your convenience.
- Your XYZ Cellars To Kalon Vyd allocation. 3 6-packs. I will hold them for youunless you tell me not to.
- Your order from this morning. I will ship 2 cases 2008 at the frontline price unless you tell me to ship 3 cases 2009 at your 3 case discount.
- I have a credit memo for you and you will not receive ituntil I receive the fax number to your bookkeeper.
- My winemaker is coming to your place for an event that we set up the evening of the 12th. He is booking his flight today, unless you give me a different date.Thank you,Wine Rep