When To Use Email

When we bought our car, we left a $500 check so they could order it. Once the car arrived and we officially made the purchase, they were supposed to process the check with all the final paperwork. They didn’t but said they would issue us a check. We didn’t notice that we never got it. [1] We got a letter from them saying we’d never cashed the check. They are right on top of it.

But their communication is like that of the dinosaur age.

  • The letter is a form, written in all caps, with the date, our name, and the check number, date, and amount written in by hand.
  • The only communication option (except for the website with no staff directory) is a phone number, answered by a human, with a 4 digit extension. While the receptionist has a sweet voice and is happy to connect me to x4510, it would be easier/faster for her and me if I could just type that myself.
  • The woman who process these things is very busy and (surprise) always on the phone. So, all I get when I call is her voice mail. I have my phone set up to give preference to voice mail, too. Even when I changed it for her, I didn’t hear it ring in the next room. Luckily, she knows how to use voice mail correctly. [2] But, since we can’t reach one another, we are still “playing voice mail tag”.

Had this been handled by email, instead, it would have been a quick exchange and then done. Just the time saved to “log” into voicemail for each group of calls and listen to the message(s) would be worth it.

I don’t know why some industries (and car sales certainly seem to be one of them) are still so old-fashioned when it comes to technology. Don’t they use email in their personal lives? Don’t all their friends/family use email (and facebook and twitter)? Don’t they wonder why their jobs are still making such heavy use of an older technology?

…maybe this is why their industry is suffering in spite of more people in our country and the desire/”need” for more cars?

[1] Prior to the sale of the house, we’d have been calling every day to see where that money was. But, since the house sold and our budget could breathe again, it was a lot less important. Plus, I know that deep down we trust the dealership. And, we were right to do so.
[2] “Hi this is Sally from Scion. Please call me at 512.555.1111.” is not the correct way to use voice mail. I don’t usually return those calls. It is important to state the purpose of the call and mention any deadlines or urgencies. Our dealership contact confirmed my mailing address via the message and even said something like, “I think this must be right since that’s where I sent the letter.” I guess since she uses the phone so much, she knows the right way to do it.

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