Business etiquette might be common sense, but tech-related etiquette can be a difficult skill to master. Fortunately, at least one publication has developed an etiquette guide specifically for all things digital.
How fast should you respond to an email?
This is 100% situation dependent. If your client is having a crisis, you need to immediately respond. If the email does not demand an immediate response, shoot for sending it by the end of the day. At the very worst, twenty-four hours should be the latest response to almost any email.
The danger to responding too fast is that you have suddenly set the precedent that you will always respond immediately. The danger to responding too slow is that, intentional or not, you may send the message that the email was not very important to you.
Can you respond to a phone call with an email?
If someone leaves their email address, and says “just shoot me an email,” I think email is a fairly safe way to respond. If you are on the go, and have to respond, but cannot make a call, email is ok again.
If someone leaves a message, and asks you to call back, email is probably the wrong choice. It send the wrong message, and it can certainly offend some people.
Should you ever click over on call waiting?
In a business setting, I would say 99% of the time you should not. Unless you are expecting a phone call that you must answer, clicking over sends the wrong message. Lawyers are busy folk, and most phone calls are under ten minutes. You can return the call when you are done with your current one.
If you find yourself constantly missing calls, maybe it is time to hire a receptionist, or an answering service.