Thursday, July 5, 2012

Meet Their Expectations

My pastor asked me to transfer a VHS tape to a DVD. The main reason he wanted this done was because VCRs are less commonly used than they used to be. I told him I would see what I could do. My first concern was that the equipment wouldn’t allow me to make the transfer. Many VHS tapes have a message encoded into the tape that tells the recording equipment not to store the video. Once I determined this was not the case with this video, I sent a request to the copyright owner for permission to copy the video.

The copyright owner for this video is a company that has a website. Their contact page consists of a form into which you can put your personal information and a message, and a mailing address. Hoping for a quick response, I used the form. I submitted the request on a Saturday, so I didn’t expect a response till Monday, but this particular company isn’t the kind that would have a lot of correspondence, so I expected to receive an e-mail on Monday. Monday came and went. Tuesday came and went. Wednesday came and went. Still no response. I went to their website and used the form to ask them when I could expect a response. I was afraid that my original request might have gotten lost. How would I know? I had never received any feedback from the form.

Then Thursday came. Maybe there’s some significance to that. Thursday, the day our Lord was crucified. Perhaps not. Anyway, on Thursday, I received a let in the mail. It cost them 45¢ to mail it. The letter said that I could make a copy of the VHS.

My thought on this is that you should always respond by a similar method to that by which you are contacted. If I had sent them an letter through the mail, it would have been better for them to respond by a letter than by e-mail or some other form. But I sent them an electronic message. The appropriate thing for them to do was to send an e-mail back to me. Even if they had simply said, “We are mailing a response to your request. You should receive it in a few days.”

We need to be considerate of the people who contact us. People have an expectation of how long it takes to respond. E-mail is a nearly instantaneous form of communication, so people expect a quick response. The postal service takes a while, so people are willing to wait longer. It can be upsetting to people when we don’t meet their expectations.