I love using email to communicate. It makes things instantaneous without being intrusive. It keeps a written record of what has been said, and is easily organized.
I especially love using Gmail, it’s archiving, labeling and search features make it easy to use and easy to find anything that has every been discussed. It even allows you to manage multiple accounts within the same interface.
However a couple of recent “incidents” have led me to question whether it’s always best at times.
Firstly someone contacted me, and I replied promptly as always. Then, after a couple of days I a got another message, the same as the first – always a sign the recipient hasn’t received my email. Checking my reply was sent, and I resent it from a different email address in case my domain was being blocked. Then, again a couple of days later, I received a comment on my blog complaining about my lack of replies. Having no other way to contact the sender other than email, I was actually happy they had left the message! It was quickly sorted out, the emails had been filtered into the recipients spam/junk folder automatically, and they hadn’t checked. All was fine in the end, but things had been delayed a week.
Secondly another client sent me an email for some further work. And then sent me another, and yet didn’t receive a reply. She then sent me an email from my contact form which alarmed me, as she had been worried about why I hadn’t replied. Of course I hadn’t received the emails, but why? The answer rests in Gmail’s virus scanner. All the emails that had been sent had contained a .php attachment. Gmail does not allow executable files or scripts to be sent in email, however the details are a little sketchy. .exe’s are blocked and so are password protected zip files. .php files are not mentioned though seem to be blocked, but not when they’re zipped. There is obviously no notification when an email is blocked (otherwise you would get lots and lots of notifications from spam bots), so I hadn’t known anything is wrong.
Gmail launched in 2004 and is still classed as a BETA – i.e not complete software. Perhaps this shows why?
ACTIONS: My contact form now includes a telephone number / Skype box in case someone wants to provide an alternative contact method. I also check my own spam folder regularly.
So, if I don’t reply to you, send me an email from my contact form with a phone number and explain the problem. I look forward to speaking to you soon!