Slow, clunky and unloved – are we about to see the death of email?
Sending messages by e-mail was revolutionary when it was conceived almost half a century ago and it is still the most common way businesses formally communicate with each other. But are the days of “electronic mail” numbered?
If you are to believe the statistics, the email apocalypse may not be far away. Millennials rarely use e-mail to communicate with each other, preferring instant smartphone messaging apps, and GDPR and changing habits have significantly reduced email deliverability for businesses. Recent research suggests that only a fifth of consumers have confidence in emails from brands. If these trend curve continues, it’s not hard to envisage that email, as we know it, may look very different in five years’ time.
Aside from external communication, many companies in the South are now seeing the benefit of a different approach to internal communication – and employing strategies that reduce email activity. And it’s not hard to see why. With up to 15 per cent of the average employees’ day taken up checking and responding to emails, email is a productivity killer. How many days have you gone into a meeting, only to come out and find an inbox of 50 messages – each one seemingly demanding your attention, but in fact, varying wildly in their action requirements and priority?
Businesses taking a more strategic, joined-up approach are embracing a different way of working. Team messaging platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Slack are growing in popularity as they allow colleagues to employ a more targeted approach to project management. As chat-based workspaces that are instantly customisable, these platforms are geared towards improving productivity and workflow for businesses. Emails can often splinter into several conversations with your team members. Not so with chat-based workspaces. Everyone knows the status of the discussion, keeping all staff on the same page and keeping the productivity flowing.
When it comes to reaching out to other businesses, it’s clear that email no longer reigns supreme. The proliferation of LinkedIn has been nothing short of phenomenal and the success of LinkedIn Local events underlines the strength of this platform.
But there is a footnote to this. The growth of electronic communication – in whatever form – has also spurned a resurgence of good old-fashioned networking. Talking to each other, and seeing and meeting the person behind the business, is still considered one of the most effective ways for businesses to communicate and collaborate. Long may this trend continue.
So what does the future hold? I would envisage many more businesses employing unified communications platforms that handle social media messaging, texting, group chat, customer service, and internal communication in one place. Cloud-based workspaces are definitely here to stay for internal workflows, social media will only diversify in its uses and I would predict many more businesses will use chatbots to communicate externally. Will it be time to say goodbye to the email? I doubt it, but email is certainly no longer the default. Rather than being king, it will be just one of a cohort of effective communication channels that businesses employ.
Article by Tim Walker – Managing Director of Aura Technology.