With the advent of texts and communication apps like Slack and Teams, email began to decline. Now we have alternative, more effective ways of communicating that are easier for the recipient. Glancing at a text message in a meeting is no big deal. However, people get dozens of emails per day, some of which are easily overlooked in the shuffle. Communication falls through the cracks. Email still has its place, but it’s getting beat out by quicker, simpler communication methods.
Here are the most common pitfalls of email:
- Long, drawn-out messages. People don’t often get straight to the point. We’ve established a kind of social orthodoxy around email introductions, pleasantries, explanations, and closing signatures. A one-sentence question can easily turn into a five-sentence email filled with unnecessary fluff. It can take more time to craft an email than it takes to actually answer the question.
- Excessive use of CC. We’ve all had to sift through our inbox, combing out the impertinent CYA emails we were copied on “just so we’d know.”
- Reply all. It’s easy to be dragged in to an email chain where 1 message spawns off 50 more. Dealing with all the back-and-forth is confusing and it’s hard to keep messages straight.
- Cyberattacks. Cyberattacks are ubiquitous, but it takes time to figure out whether an email is a spoof or real. It’s easier to simply 1) ignore the email altogether, or 2) click a malicious link anyway because it’s a hassle to investigate.
- Unwelcome solicitation. Every salesperson uses email to sell products or services you don’t really need. Millions of companies aim to build robust email lists with as many contacts as possible. Every time you share your email address with an online business, you’re added to that list, and sometimes your information is sold to third parties.
Companies are migrating to online collaboration tools like Slack or Teams. These tools provide a means to communicate within the organization and exclude unwelcome solicitations or distractions from the outside. They operate much like a text message where shorter is better.
Organizations that share documents are using tools like Dropbox or OneDrive where a file URL can be sent via text, Slack, Teams, etc. This eliminates the problem of version control. Once you send an attachment, the recipient can make changes and save them directly in Dropbox or OneDrive to avoid excessive back-and-forth. Multiple people can collaborate and edit a document in one location.
Organizations that traditionally use email to get technical support are replacing email with tools like EVAN360. A help request can be shared between companies or within the company, and skills matching allows the right person to be notified for help to provide customer support. It prevents the chances of an email going to the wrong person and getting lost. Companies can also track valuable data and analytics with a dedicated, non-email support tool.
The 2020 remote work environment has accelerated the demise of email even further. We don’t think it’s going away completely anytime soon, but the digital platform industry is continually innovating, solving problems, and discovering more efficient ways of doing business.