Banning email: is there a case to answer?
30 Nov
“I sent so-and-so an email”, “I’m waiting on an email from such-and-such,” “My boss hasn’t read my email” – sound familiar? Of course it does. We’re all guilty of hiding behind a wall of email on a daily basis. It’s easy, it’s transparent, it’s traceable.

But what has – arguably – the greatest innovation in business done to the relationships we have with our customers? Is it all good? We could delve right into the psychology of using email for business if we wanted to. It does, after all, offer excellent opportunities for the lazy, paranoid and/or tech obsessed. A little like text, most of us would say things on an email we might not be able to on the phone or face-to-face, good or bad.

While social media plays its part in keeping us better connected where a phone call isn’t always possible/practical, the evidence for having a proper conversation – certainly as far as customer service is concerned – is stacking up.

Take a recent study by Econsultancy*, for example. 44% of consumers said, when questioned, email was their preferred communications channel. But only 33% said they thought email was the most effective. That’s only one third of people who believe in email as an effective way to communicate.

Right now we communicate with our customers  a lot via email. And there are good reasons for this: compliance, transparency, prioritization, and escalation – to name but a few.

The issue is a complex one and customer service via a telephone has its own challenges. But at Rockford IT we think we do email too much. This might sound like a strange thing for an IT service provider, who supplies a range of email hosting and security services to companies, to say but here’s the thing: we’re not saying we’re doing away with email altogether. Or even that we’re planning to. What we are saying is we want to talk to our customers more.

So what would having less email and more conversation do for the relationships we have with our customers? We think it would…

  • Help us form better relationships with our customers
  • Help us avoid conjecture/innuendo and/or customers getting upset with a faceless cyber person on their computer screen
  • Help customers feel there’s a human being dealing with their issue
  • Help us get to the nub of the issue faster with a greater empathy for our customers’ experience
  • Give our customers a better experience

Nevertheless email makes a compelling argument, certainly when talking about efficiency. Ironically it’s the occasional failing of digital technology that pulls us closer to our customers. What we’re saying is, we want to talk to them before it gets to that.

Call it our New Year resolution, if you like, but we’re making a concerted effort to talk more.

Our monthly no email days are a result of our new approach to chat with, rather than email, our customers. We’d love your thoughts and feedback so give us a call or join our no email days on Facebook here for a little more personal interaction.

* 14th September 2011,
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