Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The lost art of letter writing: Etiquette:
I come from an era of when someone sends you a letter, remembering that a letter is in place of the spoken word..... It is polite to respond particularly in business; it was accepted etiquette to respond and say thank you for your letter, we will respond shortly or whatever the reasons are.....this is not the case anymore. Not responding is tantamount to rudeness, being uncivil as if to ignore a person who is talking to you.
Question: Do we put emails into the same category as a letter?
The end of February I sent a letter to our Private Health Fund with a query of an overpayment, this was a substantial over payment and we were keen to find out whether our fortnightly payments were going to be reduced and a refund of the overpayment. Up until last week I had not heard anything, so I rang them to ask had they received my letter. The Health Fund, said, yes we are processing your claim. When I asked “why did you not respond in writing”, their response was “oh we don’t do that, it’s not our policy”...... I asked how am I to know you received the query then... “emm” she said... “I guess you have to wait or call to confirm it has been received” as you can imagine I was less than happy with that response... the outcome was that the young lady assured me she would ring back when the claim had been assessed and completed..... I find this disgraceful business etiquette..... the Health Fund rang today to confirm that they were going to credit our membership... they did not ask if we wanted a refund.... and they were not going to send a statement to show how they came to their conclusions, even when it was asked for they said ‘it is not the way we do business” WHAT!... again not how I thought business should be run.... where is the accountability? what I do know is that if we owed them money...we would be receiving an account on a weekly basis....
Over the last 6 months I have written many letters and emails, mainly business orientated; I have come to notice that I have not had any responses to my letters. I wonder why this is. I have written to politicians, hospitals, GP’s with very little response not even the common courtesy to say thank you for your letter and we wish you well.....or we are looking into your enquiry and will inform you of the outcome. But alas no responses..... There could be several reasons for this.... one they don’t want to know about what I am asking.... or is letter writing just an out dated exercise... maybe I should twitter, or Facebook.... only joking:
Writing letters is about keeping in touch, building relationships and politeness ...it’s about presenting your business and responding shows good etiquette even if you do not want the product.....or service:
I do think as a society we are losing the art of letter writing on a personal level because communication via the internet has exponentially grown and therefore letter writing is not really necessary. Although I do think it is an art worth keeping..... but very few people do it anymore, which is a sad reflection of the times.