As a profession, we seem to spend so much time concentrating on monitoring and responding via social media that we forget for much of our audience — especially our institution’s alumni — email is still a medium of choice. And that sometimes the informative, upbeat response with a smile can mean a lot.
Consider the following email from an alum, sparked by our Sesquicentennial history activities, that seems to come with a side of snark:
Industrial arts has long been one of our signature programs, but the alum did not know it is now known as technology education. So his very real concern about a program near and dear to his heart deserves an answer in a positive tone. Thus:
Succinct, smiling and with a link for more information. How did the alum like the response? Very well!
From worrying about the direction of his alma mater back to a proud alum just like that. Not the hardest thing I had to do that day, but still pretty important — because every person who has a valued connection with our institution is important.
I also want to address this topic because I’ve seen companies and colleges that throw a lot of their resources into social media but do a poor job of responding to email — which may not be as “sexy” as Facebook or Twitter but is still a very vital medium. Whether it’s not acknowledging an email at all, not replying in a timely manner, giving an insufficient answer or firing back something terse as if our email is a bother, many entities have room for improvement in the email department. And that’s too bad, because there are no character limits and an opportunity to craft something thoughtful.