This might the most common three words in email traffic every day. It’s appended to everyone’s out of office message. When customers send out an email to their vendor and happen to find their vendor out of the office, it’s a helpful bit of information for the customer to know how to receive immediate assistance if their vendor won’t be able to supply it. Immediate assistance generally implies that there is indeed an assistant who can alternatively provide guidance where the traveling vendor cannot. So what happens, then, for an operation of one, where there is no assistant, immediate or otherwise?I have long prided myself on immediate assistance. As a junior sales manager with Millennium Hotels and then a senior sales manager with Kimpton Hotels, I am confident that I secured business for my company in great number not because I had the most competitive or even creative bid (although I did in many instances) but because I was first. I was an early adopter of email so for me, transacting business this way comes second nature. I can’t see any reason, short of not knowing the answer, why I would keep anyone waiting on an email response. The luxury of being able to respond at one’s leisure should never be misconstrued as permission to be tardy or delinquent in responding. It simply means that one gets to choose the order and priority of their responses. I nary leave an email sitting in my inbox for more than an hour unless I’m indisposed, at a meal, on an appointment, or, more commonly, in flight.
And so very literally, with a one-man operation, the most truthful response for my being on travel, business or leisure for that matter, would be, “For immediate assistance… sorry.” But on the contrary, I would never have it that way. I respond diligently when on business travel, and dare I say it, perhaps just as diligently when on leisure travel.
Many will ask how I can tolerate not ever being disconnected, not even on vacation. And my answer is quite simple. My business is what allows me to vacation when and where I do. And my success in business has always been traced to my responsiveness. So why would I risk the chance of not being able to take another vacation when it’s as simple as staying connected, granted in a limited capacity, when on said vacation? I wouldn’t.
I don’t foresee many sympathy cards because I’m servicing a client’s request… while standing in line at Disney World. Trust that if it’s immediate assistance you need, immediate assistance you’ve got.