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The end of e-mail as we know it.

If you’re reading this, you are probably the last generation to use e-mail as we know it.  The generation to come hardly uses e-mail and will probably opt for other methods and technologies.

E-mail has long been the preferred communication platform in business and working environments.  Since the early days of the internet, we have known and used e-mails.  But that is about to change.  Youngsters nowadays don’t consider e-mail as a very useful communication platform.

Our generation still remembers when we posted a letter and only received answer 2 weeks later.  For us, the use of e-mail was a revelation, because we could drastically limit the response time to our message.  Although the technology in the beginning didn’t allow instant response, now it does.  But then again it doesn’t.  While we get overwhelmed with e-mails and newsletters, the response time still isn’t instant.

And in a world where everything is becoming more and more real-time, the e-mail feels old and prehistoric.  At least it does to the youth, while they are discovering and using other means of communication that are much more tailored to the instant gratification and real-time conversation.

Whatsapp

Platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have become hugely popular, overtaking e-mail easily in the younger generations.  Short, to the point messages which these adolescents learned from SMS are taking over conversations. Apparently, they are used with ease and the limited amount of characters is no hassle.

 

Instant messaging in business

Even in business this instant messaging has become possible.  Whereas Yammer used to be an intra-company solution for conversations amongst colleagues, we see it being used for client-projects as well.  And the even more agile tool Slack is gaining terrain rapidly.

Usage of these platforms is limiting the amount of e-mails being send back and forth and it allows teams to have group discussions in one channel on one topic.  So the whole stream of information is chronically retraceable. Individuals can discuss with each other and share files.  It is much more of a conversation then e-mails ever were.

This generation that grew up with instant messaging is slowly graduating and entering the professional work environment taking their attitudes and channels with them.  So it’s just a matter of time before real-time conversations take over the old e-mail.

Customer service

Helpdesks and customer service desks or even sales representatives have to adapt to this new trend as well.  Instant messaging with customers without having to pick up a phone is the form of communication of the future.

It allows them to set up a real personal “relationship” with their customers.  And a lot of the customers are already familiar with the tools.

KLM is already experimenting with WhatsApp as part of their digital environment.

Kristof Drossaert

Digital Strategist