There are tons of situations where I find I have to follow up with people in my job.  That’s the nature of my Type A personality I suppose, as well as the nature of managing different clients and projects. The truth is: I hate following up, I hate having to follow up because I have a vision of a perfect world where people are considerate of people's requests and time and they are proactively keeping them in the loop. Sorry, I think I just had a daydream there… ya, right…

Here are a handful of things that drive me crazy. I'm not perfect, and I'm quite sure I'm guilty of some of them, but I work very hard at communicating regularly with my clients, and I feel like I'm the exception to the rule.


Not acknowledging emails or phone calls after a reasonable period. I’m not asking people to jump when I call or email them, but the considerate thing to do is to give them some indication that the message was received.

“Hey, I got your voicemail, I’m swamped today but I’ll be looking into that issue on _____”.  Be realistic with the time and date provided. Don’t give me some long-winded explanation of why there is a delay. And please don’t give me “I’ll get to that as soon as possible”.

I'm often getting emails on non-urgent things, and many times my answer is "I'm at a client today, but I'll look into that this evening". If I said I'll look into that "today", the expectation is *during business hours*… at least my expectation is!

“As soon as possible”

I don’t know their schedule, their obligations, their timelines. That response could be “I have one thing I have to get done and this request is next up today”. Or, that could be “I’m in the middle of a major upgrade and it won't get looked at until next week”. Enough with the “I’ll get that to you as soon as possible” … be realistic about where this prioritizes in the schedule and give me a real date or time please, to help set my expectations.

Missed Timelines

OK, now that I have an ETA on the thing I’m looking for an answer on or help with, and that date or time has flown by. This could also fall into the “crickets” category and often does. Follow up with a note to set the expectations if the timelines need to shift from the initial plan. Be upfront with me if my question or issue ranks low on the priority scale. Chances are I will go a lot easier on someone than if they just ignore the situation and hope I don’t notice they haven't gotten back to me yet.


As in “I’m literally working on that right now”… followed by multiple days of crickets. Should I call the police, or send out a search party, I mean if someone was “literally” just working on that 3 days ago and I still haven’t heard from them, part of me would wonder if something happened to them. Most times it's just another form of “as soon as possible”.

No follow-up when they *are* done

Even more aggravating, in the case where I’ve asked someone to do something, there is no indication that they’ve completed that task. I try not to waste their time, don’t waste mine. I don’t want to have to test/check that something is done just to find out it’s done unless that is specifically what we have already discussed.

Not using Out Of Office replies

This seems more prevalent these days for some reason… emailing people who are on vacation and there is no out-of-office notice going out. Do they expect to check their email on vacation, regularly enough that they can keep in touch? If so, great, but perhaps they should work on their “taking a vacation” skills.  Otherwise, use OOO… at least there’s an auto-response that gives me a clue as to when I might hear back from someone.

Social Media Activity

This is a new one. Now with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, we’re more visible than we ever were before this all came around. For the most part that is a good thing. Except when I see a regular stream of social media activity during a “cricket” period, and then my first reaction is “Now I know what they’re doing instead of responding to me”. It’s probably not true, and really not a fair statement but that’s the impression they’re giving off, in my opinion.  If I’m following a *person* (their handle or page is their name, not their company), I’m assuming *they* are writing their own content, hence my reaction that they’re prioritizing that higher than responding to my issue or request. If I’m following a *company*, I’m less likely to think that as firms often outsource social media or someone else is putting that info out there.

In my role as an independent consultant, I'm in the unique position to see and hear what some clients have to say about other firms they deal with, whether that is their Dynamics GP reseller or other non-GP-related external parties. On occasion, I hear "Oh, he's very good, he always gets back to us right away when we contact him". Mostly I hear the opposite, and often it's from someone in a position to influence who gets hired or selected to do future work. If only people knew this and acted accordingly…