The Art of Acknowledgement

The Art of Acknowledgement

You are busy.

You have what feels like a million action items on your plate.

But there is one simple way in which I continue to see successful people grow.

And it is the most important part of communication:


Why It’s Necessary

I have a friend who recently told me about a story at work where there was an important medical emergency.

He is in the medical field and his team is responsible for responding to potentially life threatening situations.

When a request was sent out to his really friendly and nice female colleague who specialized in a particular treatment which was required, no one worried when she didn’t respond to the request because it was her habit to not reply; just to go see the patient and be on her way.

So on this occasion, the request was sent as usual.

And she did not respond as usual.

But 2 hours passed by until someone realized the patient hadn’t been seen and that the employee was nowhere to be found.

Needless to say, the patient was extremely unhappy but seen in time to preserve his health.

And the prime culprit of this slip was the lack of acknowledgement on the part of this kind worker.

She didn’t do anything wrong she claimed.

But the truth is that she didn’t do anything at all and it all could have been prevented – including the company losses incurred by saving this patient – with an acknowledgement.

Pardon? What?

As sales consultants, we have a duty to fulfill client requests – we work for our clients.

But now and again communication breaks down and assumptions are made about the level of customer service being provided.

And it entirely stems from acknowledgement.

Whether it is a small or large request, a proposal or a favour – nod your head, show you are listening and reply – in some form another please please reply!

There is nothing more infuriating as a customer than to ask for help with a product only to be not heard.

Or to reach out to a colleague to spearhead a necessary procedure only to receive no reply.

When to Acknowledge in Email?

As a rule of thumb, if you are the recipient of an email request whereby you are asked for an answer or a comment, and your name is in the ‘To:’ line, you should certainly be responding with an answer or at least an acknowledgement that the request will take a bit longer to fulfill.

If you are in the ‘Cc:’ line, you can be an active observer. There is a reason you are on the email but it is not for you to necessarily respond unless you can add value to the conversation.

Now you may thinking: this is really obvious Riaz, why am I still reading this?

Well the truth is, myself included, we are all guilty of poor email etiquette at one point or another.

I have certainly overstepped my boundaries on occasion by sticking my nose in where it probably didn’t belong.

But I have also overstepped my boundaries to be heralded as a reliable person who goes above and beyond.

I have also seen the opposite true where others don’t reply where they were certainly needed; truly a sad occurrence.

It pummels communication and lowers the value of a supposed transparent workplace or an open customer relationship.

The reason online communication is so very subjective is because there haven’t been defined objective practices instated universally so habits are adopted organically.

This can have positive and negative consequences.

But the fundamental truth is that no matter the platform: email, your website comments, telephone, or social media, a response will go a long way.

And before I get labelled a hypocrite, there are several comments on this blog that I have yet to respond to which is both immature and ungrateful on my part to those who took the time respond.

Acknowledgment is a universally recognized way to grow a relationship and to share success.

And the way in which you acknowledge and respond truly does come down to knowing your audience.

Are there any instances in which you feel a lack of acknowledgement hurt you in business? Have you seen a situation that was damaging to a business relationship because someone didn’t respond to another?

Click here to answer in 140 characters on Twitter!


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