Last week, I came home from work, switched on my laptop and looked at the hundreds of email chains that have been sitting in my mailbox, unread, unanswered and un-actioned. Looking through the relentless list of emails with countless individuals copied in who add no value, I thought about the cumulative time wasted sifting through emails to find something actionable. It brought me to the conclusion that email is dead and probably has been for over a decade.
Every day we spend hours reeling off emails at speed, with the delusion that we are working fast and therefore at the same pace as the business around us. The problem is the person on the other end may not necessarily be there to see it, to action and to leverage the opportunity. With customers now capable of accessing data and information in seconds, it is vital that businesses are able to keep up with them to leverage the opportunities they present.
There are currently over 2.6 billion email users, who every day send over 215 billion emails, of which 116 billion of these are business facing. [The Radacati Group Inc., 2015] About 60% of employees say they will wait around two days before replying to an email, meaning under half of those emails have a chance of being actioned within a 48 hour period. [Fottrell, 2015]The implications this has on our businesses is profound- we are wasting two days for every opportunity- which means two days for our customers to find a solution elsewhere.
Communication tools such as text, WhatsApp, Skype and social media are instant, but more critically, are active. We can see when those we want to talk to are online, we know if they have read our message, are typing or when the conversation was last seen. These platforms are live and enable us to more efficiently target our communications to reach recipients at a point where they can immediately read and respond. The availability of intuitive forms of communication like this should be marking a shift in the way businesses operate, but still we use tired and stagnant emails, that result in lengthy chains of unsolved opportunities. The workforce is getting younger and more technically savvy. They have grown up in world where communication is instant and synced to all of their devices. We must start changing business practices to fit the needs of our employees, in order to improve efficiency and navigate the increasingly competitive business environment.
The world has moved on from email, but businesses haven’t, making them a static list of things we will eventually get to. If we can leverage the power of live communication alongside the latest technology innovations, businesses will be able to truly run in real-time and inevitably, succeed.
For more information on the stats included in this blog, please see below: