If a Message is Important, Follow Up to be Sure it was Received

March 12, 2015 by Linda

Today, people are transmitting all sorts of important documents via email and fax. Many companies accept faxed or email scanned signatures for important documents. Due to convenience factors, businesses and companies are accepting faxed and emailed applications and credits for educational courses, binding of insurance coverage, insurance claims submissions, insurance claim payment release documents, various types of signed contracts, various types of funds releases, and on and on. One can even send a faxed check that can be cashed at the recipient’s bank.

But, did you ever notice that some fax messages and emails simply do not arrive and no one knows why or where they went? People who use these forms of messaging (Ok-most of us!) should always keep in mind that there is an error rate with faxing, emailing and with basic snail mail too. Faxing is dependent upon people entering numbers right, putting the paper in the correct way, and someone being on the other end to take delivery. Fax machines are generally simple devices with no hard drive, a short memory and a lack of an accurate clock, so can’t be depended upon for later verification of accurate transmission. But, more than that, they are generally dependent upon phone lines to accurately transmit. There is a whole nebula of complicated connections and mis-connections in phone line transmissions where things can go wrong that the average person would know nothing about. In fact, phone lines can be checked and functional in one moment, but that does not mean the next moment there may not an interruption which can stop or change the transmission of a fax you are trying to send. Email is a better way to communicate, but still not perfect. A certain percentage of messages seem to go “into the ether” as we used to say. Some go to the wrong party, some are simply never opened, or opened in a time-sensitive way.

So keep in mind that if your transmission of a communication is at all important, it behooves you (no horsey pun intended) to follow up with a phone call or some other form of communication to be certain the message was received by the right person or place. It is also good to document the phone call with the date, time, who talked with whom, and the content of that call…then file it with the correct file and don’t just leave it lying around. It could become important later.

And if the message is really important, you should consider sending it by fax or email and also by certified delivery with a return signature slip from the post office or delivery courier. But then, still, make the appropriate phone call in a timely way to be sure it was received by the right person. Don’t assume it was received just because you sent it.

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