Sunday, March 7, 2010

Does anyone still say thank you?

This is going to make me sound like a right crusty old bore, but has saying "thank you" gone out of fashion? I am thinking specifically of online social etiquette here but I am really struggling to deal with the rudeness I encounter on a daily basis.

If you went into a shop to ask directions and someone took a couple of minutes to help you out, would you (a) say something like "thanks, much appreciated" and be on your way (b) listen until you have the information you need, turn on your heels without a word and leave the shop? I'm guessing (a), but now think of an equivalent online situation. What if you made an enquiry by email and got a satisfactory response (from a human)? Would you reply with a quick word of thanks?

At Advoco we offer a free tax query service and as such get a lot of enquiries of this kind -requests for information, legal and tax clarifications that sort of thing. From my experience only about 1/10 enquirers replies unless it is for additional free information. Very very few reply with a simple "thanks for that" type note even when it is obvious the reply has taken a while to put together and is just the sort of info they were after.

For myself I must be pretty old school or something because I would never fail to thank someone for answering a query online. There are maybe times when it is an obviously commercial situation and thanks are not required EG when you have asked an online merchant for a quote or clarified something about a product or when you are an existing customer of say a bank and have contacted their call centre. But generally when I have received a personal response from someone who has given me what I asked for I will thank them. It doesn't really matter to me from a business point of view - the free queries are still a good marketing tool - but I find it an affront when I know I have provided some really useful info and am greeted by e-silence. Perhaps I am just a crusty old bore.


  1. No James you aren't a crusty old bore. I hope I thanked you for my free advice. The problem is probably the impersonal nature of the internet - no body language or nuance of speech to trigger the usual courtesies triggered by face to face , or even, phone to phone contact.

  2. I have never had any problems with "free query" people who become clients, for obvious reasons. All my regular clients have been a pleasure to deal with both in person and online. I guess that confirms what you are saying - it's an internet thing.


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