by Elaine Fogel

The Lousy Messages You Send When You DON’T Reply

When people send you e-mails, leave voicemails, or contact you through any number of communications channels, do you always reply? Sure, it depends who is trying to reach you. But, let’s assume that they are people with whom you have a business relationship, may have a business relationship, those within your extended business circles, or those who contact you personally with a business-related message.

What happens when you don’t reply?

The messages you send when you don’t reply can vary, depending on who you’re ignoring. Regardless, your messages are a lousy reflection of your personal and business brand.

Here are 3 examples:


One of our clients placed her first order over a month ago. Because she works for a nonprofit organization, we extended credit to her. We e-mailed our invoice with terms “upon receipt” of the invoice. We’ve sent e-mails to her, left telephone messages, and yet, no reply.

Not only did we want to see if she received the invoice, we also wanted to follow up to ensure that everything was satisfactory. When we finally called the client’s accounting department, the staff person told us that she had never received the invoice from the client. We asked if our client is still employed there, and yes, she is.

  • Message: “I don’t care about you. I made my purchase and now I’m onto something else.” A poor brand experience, especially for a religious-based organization. Suppliers are part of any organization’s market segments. They can be your best brand ambassadors if you treat them respectfully.


I e-mailed three people (within the same organization) whom I know from my professional association chapter. I had received their newsletter in the mail and wanted to see if there was an opportunity to quote on printing it for them. Perhaps, we could save them some money. Not one of them replied.

These are not strangers, and even if they were, I sent them a personalized e-mail – not a mass broadcast. If they weren’t the appropriate internal people in charge of the newsletter, one of them could have forwarded my e-mail to the correct individual with a pre-amble message.

If they simply weren’t interested, it would have been polite to reply indicating that they are pleased with the print supplier they use. That’s all it takes.

  • Message: “Since you are trying to ‘sell’ us something, we don’t feel obligated to respond. Delete.” OR, “I’m not in charge of the newsletter, so I don’t have to respond. Delete.” Would I recommend this organization? I think not.


I’ve made comments on several blogs and am always disappointed when the post author doesn’t have the courtesy to respond. Now, I don’t expect a reply to each and every comment, but an acknowledgement would be nice, even if it’s a collective one.

  • Message: “I’m writing this blog for my own purposes and sometimes I’ll pay attention to your comments, and sometimes, I won’t.” It’s challenging to get blog followers when you don’t show some degree of courtesy.

On almost all of my MarketingProfs posts, and here on Totally Uncorked on Marketing, I make an effort to respond to everyone. If they can take the time to add a comment, then I can take the time to acknowledge those comments. I do, after all, want to engage with them. Isn’t that what social media’s all about?

There are many other examples when NOT replying makes you and your organization look lousy. Do you have any examples to share?

follow us in feedly
Beyond Your Logo book cover
I speak professionally!
Business2Community Badge
small business printing ad
Visit my marketing bookstore