Why Don't Germans Answer Their Emails?

59 posts in this topic

Hello,

 

I love to move to Germany for doing the Ph.D. I love to explore the country and its systems.

My issue is, I have emailed many professors and also international students offices in some universities. They have one common attitude: They DON'T answer!

 

I have other experiences but I don't want to list.

 

Why does that happen? Is it common attitude in Germany? Don't Germans prefer this tool of communication? I find it very strange when I compare to the UK and the US! 

 

Please help me understanding!

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I thought the attitude is dying, but Germans consider emails unserious.

If you were serious you would phone or write a letter. 

 

Their website designer puts an email on the website and tells them how to collect email. But they don't because well Email is not for serious communication.

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15 minutes ago, BerlinKSA said:

I have emailed many professors and also international students offices in some universities. They have one common attitude: They DON'T answer!

 

I agree with MAM.

 

You should call during the office hours given on the website.

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My wife and I saw something we wanted on Ebay Kleinanzeiger without knowing that the one had also seen it.  We both independently contacted him - my by email first and then she (days later) called him.  He didn't respond to me but responded to her.  He said that he never did business by email. 

 

I don't get that attitude.  Ebay Kleinanzeiger is also "unserious" by that definition.  

 

Just like people who don't trust Paypal but will hand a credit card to a waitress.

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It could also be a language issue. True Germans are not fully embracing the "digital transformation" and they also dread communicating in English when they don't feel confident in their abilities.

They prefer the phone and they will be much more helpful if you try to speak broken German for a bit and then switch to English when you really get stuck.

 

BTW to give you an idea about email and digital world in Germany, many businesses don't have a website or even a dot on Google Maps. I couldn't even use credit card at Ikea 6 years ago, was debit or cash. Forget Apple Wallet and stuff here, boy...

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Is this really a german thing?  In my experience in both the uk and germany is that email tends to go to the back of a very very long list and is unlikely to ever be acknowledged unless you follow up endlessly.  A telephone call however is generally fairly productive providd you hang around on the hold music for a while.

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Every person or organization I have anything to do with are super at emailing; have to be, cos I hate the phone, in any language.

 

I disagree that the best way to get results is a phone call, if you're trying to contact someone in your city. In Berlin at least, face-to-face is king, so if you really need results, go down wherever and talk to whomever in person. I handle all my bureaucracy in person, even setting appointments, because everything else is a waste of time.

 

For companies outside the city email has always worked just fine. Prompt and certainly more courteous than other forms of communication. The only time I'll roll up my sleeves and call is to DHeLL when they've (yet again) boned up my delivery.

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We are understaffed. I work at a university and our office answers all our emails but it does take us long sometimes. 

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18 minutes ago, vmelchers said:

an idea about email and digital world in Germany

 

I went to a substitute GP today for a blood draw and an MRT Überweisung. Blood results tomorrow morning. I asked her to please send them to me per email. She said they don't have internet in the Praxis. WTF? Turns out they have fax so I gave her our online fax number.

 

...carry on...

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3 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

 

I went to a substitute GP today for a blood draw and an MRT Überweisung. Blood results tomorrow morning. I asked her to please send them to me per email. She said they don't have internet in the Praxis. WTF? Turns out they have fax so I gave her our online fax number.

 

...carry on...

That is insane. I wonder how they pay their employees, they probably chip on gold bars with a hammer and nail and put the dust in a pillow.

LOL Fucking Germany man, this place tugs at my heart.

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2 hours ago, fraufruit said:

Blood results tomorrow morning. I asked her to please send them to me per email.

Sending confident patient data in an unencrypted email is a breach of "Datenschutz"... The GP could get his/her arse kicked when this happens. So his/her decision to keep out of the line of fire is not to have email at all...

 

http://www.kbv.de/html/datensicherheit.php

 

If sending a fax e.g. to an office where drei Dutzend Leute have access to the fax tray is more confident is another story.

 

But that's the way it is atm...

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I found my first job at the university and by e-mail.

I do not recommend to work with those who do not reply e-mail. That means they do not collaborate with anybody internationally, do not have international students/PhDs, and can possibly be xenophobic.

 

My humble opinion.

 

However, I also think you exaggerate a bit. How long did you wait until "no reply"? Germans do not tend to reply within 5 seconds of receiving e-mail. It can take a couple of weeks sometimes. That is normal. If you want faster, call.

 

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2 minutes ago, franklan said:

Sending confident patient data in an unencrypted email is a breach of "Datenschutz"... The GP could get his arse kicked when this happens. So his/her decision to keep out of the line of fire is not to have email at all...

 

My own GP and other doctors do it.

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26 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

 

 they don't have internet in the Praxis. WTF?

 

 

I've seen a malpractice liability insurance policy (Rechtsanwalts and Steuerberaters) that charges an additional couple Euros if the business uses the Internet.  Like an email address.  Yeah.  Like what lawyer or tax adviser wouldn't use the Internet?  Seems that "risk" could be built into the policy's usual price...

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When I first arrived in Germany, I thought my husband slightly mad for insisting that everything needs to be sorted face to face.  Since then, general  responses to emails has improved.  Writing in English or any other language, not so.  I've found since that my not perfect german emails are responded to very quickly and usually positively. 

 

I agree with others though, just phone if all else fails.

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8 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

 

My own GP and other doctors do it.

 

Same, I have received lab results by email AND by WhatsApp. Thankfully each time the results were negative but it got me thinking, would they tell me by email if they saw Cancer or a serious disease?

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2 hours ago, BerlinKSA said:

Please help me understanding!

Let me assume that you wrote an English email to a German professor...

 

Guess what, that's like you receiving an email in Russian or Portuguese, you'll kick that to the bin right away, don't you?

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15 minutes ago, franklan said:

Guess what, that's like you receiving an email in Russian or Portuguese, you'll kick that to the bin right away, don't you?

HORSESHIT!

 

English is the world language. Germany is an export country. Do you think the whole world is learning German to buy the excellent German products, or Germans learn English to call with their customers?

 

English is the language in the academic world. In science and tech it is also the sole language of communication. Those academics who do not speak English are incompetent idiots because they are unable to read international scientific journals and collaborate with their international colleagues. The times when a scientist had to speak German, French, Italian are long passé!

 

Even chauvinistic French have to learn English (and do).

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Things have been changing in the past years, nowadays even places that were unthinkable respond via email, like Finanzamt, Jugendamt, Schulamt, LABO/ABH, etc.

 

And many companies now accept signed documents scanned and sent via email.   Most health insurance companies have apps to send your documents to them, like bills or MCs, most banks have apps and they reply to emails, etc.   Many companies even reply on social media.     Yes, Germany have been in general adverse to modern technology, but it is slowly getting there.

 

You have to consider as well that some of your complaints are not really because people want it like that but because there are laws about it.

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