Falling through the Cracks

After my last post I was asked by a prominent EMBT team member why I titled the post the way I did.  I responded right away, and got a courteous “thanks for the feedback” response that also posed some additional questions.  I responded and asked a very specific and some general questions to which I have not received any reply.  That was on October 2nd.  I pinged the EMBT representative one week later on the 9th with a friendly reminder that I was waiting for a reply.  I am still waiting for a response to both my original email and the ping.

I know we’re all busy, and sometimes things fall through the cracks.  I have personally been guilty of not responding to an email because I flagged it as a todo item, and never got back to it.  That said, when I receive a follow up request, I make sure to jump on it right away and apologize for not responding sooner.  No one likes to be ignored…it doesn’t make them feel like a valued customer.  To add insult to injury, it makes people feel used when they respond to your questions, but you do not reciprocate.  The Dale Carnegie program is based on the premise that people will generally respond in kind.  I was told when I took the course that it doesn’t work with everyone, and if it doesn’t work, there is really nothing you can do about it…you just have to write it off as a lost cause.

I am the proud father of two daughters.  I teach my children that when asked a question they are to respond to the question, and that it’s not acceptible to answer a question with a question.  If they don’t respond, they are being rude and disrespectful to the person that posed the question, essentially saying to them “I got what I wanted and that’s all that matters…it’s not worth my time to respond to you”.  To say that you listen to your customers, and then ignore them is hypocrosy, something I will not accept in my life on a personal level, and try to avoid on a professional level.

I’m not sure whether the EMBT rep’s email is malfunctioning, or they have been swamped creating 31 days of XE3 videos and travelling.  I do know that this isn’t the first time I asked an EMBT rep questions, and never got a response.  Mike Rozlog said he would get answers for me about specific questions I asked during the XE2 World Tour.  I pinged him months later and never got a response.  Shortly afterwards, he left EMBT.  Is it corporate culture?  Avoidance of tougher issues?  Poor email management or ineffective delegation,  that gives a negative perception?  I’ll let you be the judge….

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16 Responses to “Falling through the Cracks”

  1. Michael Thuma Says:

    Simply busy very likely. It’s just normal to get no response, especially about positive things in general. Sometimes it’s better to say nothing. From my experience in todays business world short emails will be answered quicker than long ones. Nothing specific to EMB. No response means ‘accepted’ … think of UNIX systems.

    Think about the title of the article mentioned in the post. Maybe someone will have asked the team member …

    Listening and saying nothing is just normal. They listen, but will not say a lot.

  2. Larry Hengen Says:

    @Michael,

    I understand your point, but mine is that listening, and not responding to questions, even to acknowledge that you have heard, but cannot provide a response at that moment, is rude at best. Customer relations are no different than personal relations. Why is it acceptible to do something by email that you wouldn’t do in person? Whatever happened to the golden rule?

  3. Esteban Pacheco Says:

    I will vote for busy. Your questions may need an elaborated answer, I dont know which one will insult me more, a short and probably insufficient answer to my complex questions or probably not get an answer in a “timely” manner. I will think the first one.

    This being said, you mentioned October 2nd, which personally, If I’m doing a world tour, going to work everyday, doing online presentations, videos, etc and then trying to spend some time with my family and not being a young puppy anymore, will not see as a late response an answer in the next month.

    On the other hand, you expressed a point on your blog, they asked you about it, you replied, they thank you for your feedback. The next step of you asking and demanding an answer shortly after is probably a different cycle, and not a continuation of the previous one.

  4. Michael Thuma Says:

    Not saying - I think the evolution is a good one. I observed this in many places. Our users in my former daytime job have been happy about responses, especially about responses that provided value to them, for reasons I never thought of. Over the years this sums up and makes a difference. It’s sad that the world evolves this way. By avoiding deadlock people nowadays tend to run into livelocks.

    Later I worked in a company that never replied to last weeks emails. They used emails with one sentence, so they received many emails … certain kind of command authorized by the email footer. Very strange in case of communication between humans. Since businesses have taken over email as one of their preferred choices to create noise in a silent way, they think that messaging has to be used in their (under)mind-set. Sometimes I wish back the days, when email had been written using the mail prompt and ended with ‘^d’ (EOT).

    What I understand is that people don’t reply immediately. It does make sense to sleep over for a night. Maybe this team member hibernates;). In some companies communication rules are strict.

    I think the response is a qualified one in your case and a concern mentioned (very likely) is valid from your perspective. Maybe little to early for …
    http://anarchycamp.tumblr.com/post/33719462606/if-you-are-waiting-for-a-sign-this-is-it

  5. C Johnson Says:

    EMBT, Codegear and borland before all have an attitude of arrogence and entitlement.

    I’ve learned to expect very little consideration as a customer of EMBT. You get what they offer on the terms they offer it - period. There is no compromise, and if you ARE a boat rocker, or truely question them, you are painted as a malcontent.

    If someone came out with a compatible version of pascal that let me migrate my code with relatively minor pain, I would likely cut EMBT off my purse strings WHILE singing and grinning like a maniac.

    In fact, I have dialed my license requirements back to the minimum required. I suspect that enough others have done this to help inspire the recent c/s license fiasco.

    Nothing short of near complete failure (interprise)/customer revolt has ever seemed to have any impact on the EMBT team over the years.

  6. Jolyon Smith Says:

    @C Johnson - absolutely.

    The key I think is that in private correspondence they relax into that mode since it is conducted in private. They can be as free with their disdain and contempt for their users as they like when nobody else is watching.

    Equally, when someone speaks up publicly their response is not to address the substance of any issues raised but to quickly attempt to spin and whitewash.

  7. Esteban Pacheco Says:

    Oh wow, my comment is still awaiting moderation since 12:57pm, but i see all the other comments up. Awkward.

  8. David I Says:

    Guilty as charged for not following up yet. No excuses that I can give and I will respond. Interesting to see all of those usual snarky remarks from some bloggers and commenters. I continue to do all that I can to help all of our customers around the world. I do, sometimes get a little busy but you are right, I need to always send an email response saying so. I have not forgotten your email and requests.
    David I.

  9. David I Says:

    Larry - I just sent you an email with answers to your questions and a few replies to some of the comments you made. Let me know if missed anything - always a possibility.

  10. Larry Hengen Says:

    @David I

    Thanks David! I have received your reply and responded.

  11. Larry Hengen Says:

    @Esteban,

    For some reason WordPress is no longer notifying me of comments awaiting moderation. I have checked the settings and everything seems fine, so this issue will require further investigation. Your comments are now available.

  12. ObjectMethodology.com Says:

    I so glad you brought this up because many people seem to follow the a “I have a million things to do, so I’m too busy to do any one of them”. This doesn’t speak directly to your EMBT communications. But, in general it seems people don’t understand that doing too many things means you’ll probably do nothing correctly.

    I run a one man show and I reply to all emails or other communications. I know others that do the same. I’m not saying everyone should aspire to such efficiency but it’s good to realise that if communications are slipping through the cracks then a total rethink of your daily activites may be in order.

  13. Daniel Stasinski Says:

    I recently had the same issue with a very prominent EMBT member, perhaps even the same one. He promised to respond, but didn’t, and all further inquires went completely ignored even though he knew how incredibly important his response was to my organization. Never again.

  14. Jolyon Smith Says:

    Oh look - a complaint in public get’s a response. Quel surprise!

    Of course, no-one will ever know if you would ever have received any response had you simply kept quiet about it. But I think the collective experience tells us what you might have expected. /snark.

    And @ David I, we might equally say “Here is the usual excuses-whilst-claiming-to-not-be-making-excuses, without even an apology response”.

  15. Daniel Stasinski Says:

    Thanks for the personal note, Larry. I’ll definitely follow up if the EMBT guy ever gets back to me, but it’s a moot point now anyway. I’m glad you had better luck than I did.

  16. Larry Hengen Says:

    @Daniel,

    My follow up questions, specifically relating to QC items and why QC is a “black hole” are still un-answered. Sigh…

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