SKIP THE EMAIL. SEND A TEXT. GET CONTROL.
Text messaging has emerged as a dominant form of both personal and professional communication. While that may seem obvious personally and absurd professionally, the numbers show there is force behind this trend in business communications. Failing to embrace and harness these trends comes at great cost to your company in the form of liability, lost productivity and missed opportunities.
Mobile Marketing Watch revealed their finding that marketing emails have only a 20-30% open rate and a dismal 3.2% click-through rate. To make matters worse, a 2015 study found emails of any kind have a mere 25% (to as low as 5%) response rate. That certainly doesn’t amount to an efficient form of business communication.
Compare that to text messages and we find a whopping 98% open rate for texts with a 45% response rate. Moreover, most texts are read in the first 5 – 90 seconds after they are received. That is a lightning fast acknowledgment rate compared with the 16 – 51 minute average for email. Those statistics alone should be enough to make any business take a second look at how they are communicating with their customers and employees.
Another report finds the average 18 – 35 year old Millennial sends upwards of 128 texts per day compared to the modest 16 for Boomers. The habits and demands of the ‘always on and right now’ Millennials paint a clear picture of the importance of messaging to the world’s newest pool of entrepreneurs and customers.
Since the onset of ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) work policies, businesses are seeing a rise in productivity, a decrease in cost to pay for mobile device hardware, and an increase in use of the most up-to-date hardware by their employees. As one author recently put it:
“ “… it makes more sense for businesses to create a formal BYOD policy than to struggle in vain against the oncoming tide of personal devices.” “– ITPROPORTAL, 2016
However, BYOD policies must account for the downside of every employee bringing their own device – and what it means for control and visibility of business communications.
SO MANY APPS
Gallup recently reported, “People under 50 prefer texting to all other communication.”
So even if your business has opted for a ‘business messaging’ platform the likes of HipChat or Slack, there is a deficit in content visibility via secure texting apps for mobile devices used by their employees.
And it is not just about employees. How a company interacts with the 64% of their customers who prefer text messaging is not solved by internal use of tools in the Slack and HipChat families.
That said, there is a myriad of text messaging apps on the market, any number and combination of which are in use daily by employees to communicate inside and outside their organization. None of which you, as a company, have much control over.
Right now, some of your employees or peers are sending SMS from their mobile phone to a client or colleague with little or no security in place to prevent snooping from either inside or outside your company and there is zero retroactive visibility to the content.
SO LITTLE VISIBILITY
Native messaging apps also mean a deficit in the ability to retroactively search and retrieve any messages sent and received by your employees. While this is both appropriate and desirable for personal communications, for a company this means missed warning signs and lost opportunities that can cost millions. Where corporate email can be archived and mined for critical data when needed, modern messaging leaves much to be desired for corporate environments.
Today’s companies need a means to dial up (or down) their archiving of communications on behalf of the company through messaging – from simple metadata to full content. Some content should automatically generate alerts when conversations signal behavior which puts the company and its employees at risk. Likewise, these communications can be a boon for new innovation, new ideas and attribution that contribute to a portfolio of intellectual property.
As long as every employee is using a different text messaging app to communicate amongst themselves and your clients – your company has zero visibility to that content.
BYOD policies should also consider how to make relevant company communications standout amongst the noise. Recently, USA Today reported the “average adult spends 11 hours a day on digital media [half of which is consumed by mobile apps] and 23 hours a week texting”.
Statistics like these mean your business communication is mixed in with vast amounts of other input in the digital world, making your ability to concisely communicate and cut out noise an imperative. Even small blunders like unnecessary or redundant replies to group messages, stagnant content, and including too many people in channels and chats contribute to a tendency among employees to tune out even relevant information from the onslaught vying for their attention.
Companies need to ensure their messages are cutting through the noise and decluttering the data deluge their employees and customers receive every minute of the day. This can be accomplished with one-way message types, smart contact tags, and auto-deleting content – all without losing archival features.
TOO MANY DISTRACTIONS
Text messages can reach any of your employees at anytime from anywhere. A 2014 study of distractibility and task performance found it takes as little as 2.7 seconds of distraction to break an employee’s state of flow and cause errors in their current work. And once distracted, it can take more than 23 minutes to get back into a state of flow.
One recent NBCNews article put it this way:
“We’ve known for a while that distractions hurt productivity at work. Depressing research by Gloria Mark at the University of California, Irvine, says that typical office workers only get 11 continuous minutes to work on a task before interruption. With smartphones reaching near ubiquity, the problem of tech-driven multitasking — juggling daily tasks with email, text messages, social media etc — is coming to a head.”
Just three 2.7-second distractions – 9 seconds total – can cost an entire hour of productivity for a single employee. In the 11 hours adults spend with media and a 32 text per day average across all adults in the US – that amounts to massive loss from distractions if the information in those texts is not concise, relevant and meaningful. Your communication needs to be worth the distraction.
Company managers can further reduce distraction and noise by configuring who has direct access to communicate with whom among the company during business hours. In turn, allowing managers at all levels to more easily protect their teams from distracting ‘drive-bys’ and irrelevant information.
Finally, the rise of BYOD and text-based messaging in business means companies are losing control over who owns and has access to the communications among employees and to their customers. Remote wipe of a current or former employee’s personal device can get a company into hot water and be generally impractical for both parties.
A happy medium can be found in the use of a product that sandboxes and encrypts communications and information related to a company while meeting the security and privacy needs of both the company and its employees. Rather than wipe an entire device, why not target just the relevant data and accounts?
Increased access to instant communication comes with benefits like decreased costs and increased efficiency. But it also has a dark side with great risk to your company. Learning to harness the upsides by embracing modern communication while warding off liability, distractions and missed opportunities is playing a critical role in the business world.
Finding the right technology fit to implement your policies is central to success. At Forsta, we specialize in communications platforms with cutting edge encryption that gives you the visibility and benefits lacking in standard messaging. We provide the best of modern messaging with innovations that serve the your business’ needs without compromising your employees’ personal privacy.