In a blog post titled, Email is Dead, Taken Out by Twitter, chat and communities, Michael Maoz suggests that the rise of Twitter and other forms of social media will kill email.
He makes great points about companies failing to set service levels (which means, I suppose, they’re not responding to emails) and about increased usage of social media by more and more companies.
I agree with all his points and yet I disagree with his conclusion.
First of all, as one commenter pointed out, Twitter is character limited, so it doesn’t have the same functionality as email. Second, email replaced (one could say “killed”) the business letter as a statement of record, but I don’t see a forum post or FAQ meeting that need.
Furthermore, for the next few decades, there will always be a sizable segment(s) of people who don’t participate in user forums and who want a simple answer to a simple question. They don’t want to troll through hundreds of forum screens or read dozens of FAQ’s. They. Just. Want. A. Simple. Answer. Failure to provide that simple answer will damage the relationship between business and customer. (Hello Apple: “How do I move iTunes from my hard drive to an external drive?”)
If a company doesn’t establish adequate service levels when using emails, what makes you think they’ll be any better at Twitter or in communities.It’s not the channel. It’s the philosophy.
Remember, TV didn’t kill radio. Cable TV didn’t kill network TV. Ergo, Social media won’t kill email.
However, in each of the above cases, the original medium was altered by its younger sibling. Radio went from providing live entertainment shows to playing primarily recorded music, for example.
Yes, more and more companies will engage their customers through a variety of channels other than email. But for the foreseeable future, I predict that email will still remain viable, although it may lose market share to Twitter and others.
The smart companies will figure out how to segment their customers and communicate with them based on the customers’ preferences. That includes communicating via email when the customer prefers it that way or when email meets needs (such as confidential information) that other channels can’t.
Speaking of Twitter, you can follow me. I’m txglennross.