3 weeks ago, as a customer, I emailed a company's owner for help with a time-sensitive request unsolved by junior staff. 2 weeks ago, the assistant emailed me that she was ill, but intended to answer me. I still haven't heard from her. They didn't disclose her absence's duration, and asking seems too nosy. A cynic would venture if "illness" were a delaying tactic?

I don't know how to follow up tactfully, as I'd appear more worried about the difficulty than her health (with which I can't help anyways), even if I include good wishes.

  • What is your relationship with this manager? Are you a subordinate, a customer? This really changes whether you can escalate and what the manager's obligations are to you.
    – JAD
    Jan 16 '18 at 5:57
  • @JarkoDubbeldam I'm a customer. I added this to my post.
    – NNOX Apps
    Jan 16 '18 at 6:01

It's been two weeks since the last response. You are entitled to ask again without seeming nosy.

I would reply to the message from the assistant and CC the owner (the one you messaged the first time).

Inform them that it has been two weeks since you've last been contacted and you would like to be followed up with. Express concern over the illness, and that if it is difficult to handle the request due to the illness you aren't opposed to the matter being passed along to someone else. Don't push for details of the illness itself, but simply express that you would like for your issue to be handled in a timely manner -- but without accusatory or offensive language.

You are a customer, so you have a reasonable expectation that they should handle your problems in a reasonable timeframe, even if the person in charge of the case itself isn't available.


If they haven't followed up that the owner will be taking a long leave of absence or passed the case on to someone else, I assume they've forgotten.

It's not rude to say:

"Dear ____, I hope this email finds you in good health. I'm following up on my case. Please let me know if I should contact another employee if you're still ill."

They're either going to redirect you or be reminded that they forgot.

If the company is local or has toll free calling then I would consider phoning.

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