Technology is the best… and the worst.  It makes communication easier, but also reduces face-to-face interaction and nuance.  It makes it easy to share documents and information, but also limits learning how to figure things out on your own.

Last week I had a technical issue that made my heart drop to the floor.  I was talking with someone who said they sent me an e-mail – which I had never received.  I searched my inboxes and scoured my trash bin, but nada, zip, zilch.  Then the person said that they didn’t e-mail me directly, they contacted me through my website.

So I did some exploring on the backend of my website and found (to my horror) a cache of messages that were sitting there, but had not been forwarded to my e-mail (like they were supposed to be) or anything to alert me to their presence.  Oh dear.

Amongst the obvious spam for Nigerian princes and people with large out of country checks to split with me if I would just deposit the funds for them, were a few messages that I would have responded to (and should have responded to) if only I had known they were there.

So now that the messages were old and stale, what should I do?  I would hate for anyone to think that I intentionally ignored them or have a bad impression of my business for failing to respond.

After I picked my heart off the floor, I sent mea culpas to all of the legitimate inquiries to 1) say I was sorry and 2) check in to see if their needs had been met.  While I didn’t get responses from most of the people (and didn’t expect to), I did get a surprising number of replies thanking me and asking for follow up information or to set up appointments.

So, learn from my mistake and think about doing the following:

  • Set up regular reminders to check that all of your website forwarding is working.
  • Circle back to people.  It’s better to be late than never!
  • Fall on your sword and apologize liberally!

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