Are you a slave to Facebook Messenger response times?
Facebook is bothering me. There is a little note on my Home page that says that I have a 0% message response rate and typically take more than one business day to respond to enquiries. “We won’t tell anyone,” Facebook assures me. I look closer and see that in order to get a Facebook ‘Excellent Responder’ badge, I need to respond to 90% of enquiries within 15 minutes. You must be joking!
I do want FB messages, but, not 24/7. When that message comes through, I might be feeding the baby, working on a difficult report, trying on a little black dress or any other number of things that take longer than 15 minutes.
As any Time Management practitioner will tell you, a moving priority list is at the heart of good time management. I can only do one thing at a time and the thing that I am working on, at any moment in time, is my highest priority. I need to finish that one thing before starting another; this is at the heart of getting things done. I need a really compelling reason to shift your message to the very top of my priority list. It needs to rank in crisis terms, to something like the “I’ve lost my passport and I’m being robbed as we speak,” message from daughter in Brazil.
Arguably, a fast response could be a really bad idea. Imagine I am scaling the heights of some cliff or other and a FB message buzzes on my apple watch. Desperate not to lose my ‘Excellent Responder’ status, I drop everything, literally, including my climbing partner… Shame.
There are other equally important reasons why I may not want to respond to you immediately:-
I may want to check you out
Not all customers are good for business and you may be one of them. I want to check you out and find out if you are who you say you are? Are you making a genuine enquiry or are you working for a competitor, trying to ferret out secret information?
I may be with another customer. And if I am, she or he is the priority. Nobody likes sitting in a consulting room and the consultant is interrupted constantly by a ringing phone and other patients’ problems. “Love the one you’re with,” sang Stephen Stills in 1970s. He was right.
Your Inner Child is not my problem.
It seems to me that your inner child has just got too big for its boots. This attitude of yours “I want it and I want it now” is getting me into a distracted spin. Be reasonable. Put your inner child firmly back in the pram and recognise that I have a life. Just because I won’t pick up your toys doesn’t mean I don’t love you.
Retailers close their doors at night. Hotels put up ‘No Vacancies’ signs and car parks declare that they are FULL. On line, however, there seems to be an expectation that we should all be available all the time. This is reinforced by smart phone apps and slogans encouraging us to “Do business on the move, never miss a call again.” Whatever happened to work life balance?
For all those who are less than enamoured with the idea of being on call 24/7. I have put together a guide to what my personal response time really means. You may want to do the same, it is remarkably therapeutic:-
2 minutes – I have absolutely nothing to do and am wondering if the World Wide Web has imploded and the phone line has developed a fault. I am all yours.
15 minutes – Your enquiry has come in during office hours and I’m not that interested in what I’m doing. Your message is a welcome distraction. I am more than happy to chat for a while.
15 minutes – 3 hours – My preferred response time. I am fully engaged and available.
3- 7 hours – I may be having a bad day. It’s possible that the cat has thrown up, the car has broken down and one or more of my team are off sick. I’ll do my best.
Next day – My daughter has run off with a sultan prince, my son has crashed his motorbike and I am two pills away from a nervous breakdown. You may detect the tension.
Up to a week – I’m on holiday … and I lost my phone in transit Sorry for the inconvenience.
Longer – I’ve won the lottery and/or your message was of sub-zero interest. Enough said.
I have considered my position carefully and have concluded that Facebook’s Excellent Responder accolade will remain an aspiration only for me, for some considerable time. Right now, I have other priorities.
SkillsforSale would love to hear your comments on this article and to hear about your experiences of being a Facebook Messenger slave or otherwise. Please use the Comments below or email email@example.com with your story.
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