Why do companies take 5 days to reply to emails?

On a personal basis I can be slow to respond to private emails, mainly as my work emails get a high priority and there is an awful lot of them. I would expect any company which offered an email route to contact them to treat that communication as being as important as if I picked up the phone and called them.

So – why do companies still seem to think an email is less important than a phone call?

Would you accept picking up the phone and being told that it could take up to FIVE DAYS before you can speak to someone in the call centre?

Dear T-Mobile UK, I don’t expect to chase up a service fault with a local Wi-Fi point and then get a response telling me that it will take up to FIVE DAYS to just reply to my message – especially as the message I sent was a complaint that the local Wi-Fi point had been faulty for over a week. I would have phoned you, only I left my mobile phone at home, and noticing that you had an email contact service thought (naively) that it would be a suitable way of contacting you.

More fool me.

It is ironic that the Wi-Fi hotspot which is faulty happens to be inside a branch of Starbucks, who have a track record of replying to emails very quickly, usually within the hour – based on the two times I have messaged them over the past few years.

The coffee shop can respond swiftly, but the communications firm needs days to communicate with its customers

(and calms down)

update: The company has responded already, and while the response is not really conclusive, they did reply in a fairly tolerable timeframe. I am still spluttering at the idea that a company thinks it can get away with taking FIVE DAYS to reply to a customer email though.

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3 Comments

  1. Yes, by the time you get the early reply the damage has already been done – as when I recently emailed Microsoft support and my query was automatically allocated to a low priority. They got back to me quickly, but I still felt offended that they dared to assume I didn’t really need my computer!

  2. Trevor Staniforth

    I too have just had a similar experience with 3 Mobile it says on their website 5 days for a reply.
    But they haven’t even acknowledged my email to them to report a lost dongle and sim card.
    I find it totally unacceptable in this day and age.
    I was unable to phone them as I am post operative due to major mouth surgery and unable to speak properly.

  3. Jack

    You have made an interesting post and I fully agree with you. I personally think companies need to allocate appropriate staff to deal with enquirers via email social media or customers with just walk away. Social media, especially twitter has made it very easy for customers to publicly critisie the service they get from companies.

    Personally I am currently experiencing issues with two companies on eBay which think its appropriate not to reply to any of my messages.

    To be honest not all companies are like this. My web hosting company usually takes no more than an hour to reply to any support issues I have and on several occasions a reply has been made within a few minutes of the query being raised.

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