The first email was sent in 1978, that’s nearly 40 years ago. Since then, digital communication has moved on leaps and bounds with the likes of instant messaging apps, social media and project management tools. We are now in an era of instant, unlimited and constant communication with one another. Yet email remains the dominant communication channel for most businesses both internally and externally. Despite the fact it’s not instant, can take hours to be delivered, is messy for teams and can easily be ignored. Businesses are lagging behind the general consumer in their uptake and implementation of these new apps and tools.
Before we dive in, let me just state this isn’t a proclamation that “email is dead” or “email sucks” (although sometimes it does). Far from it. Email is very much alive and kicking, in fact just in the last two years CSS animations and massive data segmentation technologies have made email more interactive and personalised than ever before. Email is still a cost effective channel for ad hoc correspondence, marketing and general comms with the outside world. And it’s still hugely popular, with over 4.3 billion email accounts in existence and with year on year growth, email isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
But, and it is a big but, that doesn’t mean there aren’t wonderful alternatives out there for businesses to enhance and in some cases replace email as their primary comms tool.
Sadly, but not unsurprisingly the uptake of new communication tools has been slow. What appears to be happening instead is companies are embracing some of the digital new age philosophies and methodologies trending at the moment, such as email hygiene and inbox management, like ‘inbox zero’, and the ‘5 sentences or less rule’. Not to mention the myriad of plugins and extensions to make email more productive and responsive. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with these efforts in principal, Google’s Inbox for Gmail being a noteworthy mention, however this is the wrong way to solve the problem.
The issue with these philosophies and plugins is that they are an arbitrary and temporary fix for a tool that is now antiquated in the modern workspace. A car can be retrofitted and modernised, but it’s still restricted to four wheels and driving on roads. And that’s the problem with email, it’s not fit for purpose anymore (although it’s never been very good for conversations anyway). With all these enhancements, they still don’t correct the root problem: the protocols and structure that email is built upon hasn’t changed since inception and is holding progress back.
So what are the alternatives to our beloved email?
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If you need help transitioning from Email or want to know how any of the aforementioned tools could help your business, drop us a line and we’ll happily walk you through the process and offer up tips and advice along the way, we’re always happy to chat.
Did I miss something or not mention your favourite app? Let me know in the comments below.