Internally most of our communication runs via Slack, which we’ve been running for nearly 3 years now. For interactions with clients we use a number of tools ranging from the traditional phones and emails to live chat, social media channels and face to face meetings at events etc.,
But these days the number of communication channels we all use on a daily basis is growing constantly and it can be more than a little confusing.
XKCD sums up the issue very nicely:
I love technology and will happily sign myself up for a lot of service just to “see” how they work. But over the course of 24 years “online” that means I’ve ended up with a LOT of accounts on various messaging platforms. Some are active, others are dormant, while others I’ve forgotten I even have them! Remember ICQ? What about AOL messenger? Yahoo! messenger? IRC? And I won’t even get started on all the various mobile ones.
What are people actually using though? Sure, the hardcore geeks might be trying some new “shiny” service, or the very privacy conscious types have tried to move to “yet another social network” that promises not to monetise user data, but there *is* data about what people are doing.
The IPSOS MRBI data is fascinating and very revealing of what people are actively using:
Personally I use Skype chat and WhatsApp a lot, with FB messenger also in the mix.
As a business owner the lines between “personal” and “business” use can be very blurred, so while Slack is 99% work, I’d use Skype as much for personal stuff as business. With WhatsApp it’s *mostly* personal.
It can be a little confusing, so I generally recommend people email me directly if it’s business and message me if it’s something less urgent or more “personal”. Of course *which* email address is another problem 🙂
What’s the takeaway for a business? I guess the most obvious one is that you need to be aware of what your clients are using. You might not want to have a “presence” on every platform that is out there, as doing it badly is arguably worse than not doing it at all, but being aware of what people are using can help understand your clients better.