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The Hidden Importance of Email Response Times

3 minute read
Brian Wallace avatar
Email response times play a critical role in building trust between the sender (customers) and the recipient (your business).

For over a decade now we've been hearing rumors of email's demise. Email is the oldest means of digital communication and we have several other options now, so it makes sense that people would eventually move away from it and move toward newer, more streamlined means of digital communication. The truth, though, is that 90% of Americans still use email, and they range in age across every generation. What’s more, 58% of people check their email first thing in the morning — before any social media activity. 

Email is far from dead, and in fact responsiveness to email is more important than ever.

Are Younger Generations Killing Email?

Younger generations have been accused of “killing” multiple things, from millennials killing the paper napkin industry to Gen Z killing email. Aside from the ridiculousness of making any such claim, across all age groups, email use is pretty steady:

  • 91% of 15 to 24 year olds use email
  • 93% of 25 to 44 year olds use email
  • 90% of 45 to 64 year old use email
  • 86% of people over 65 use email

Gen Z, as it turns out, spends more time online than any other generation. Forty-five percent say they are online almost constantly, while 44% say they are on multiple times a day. Surprisingly, Gen Z mostly uses email for personal reasons — 65% of email use — while 19% of email use is for school and 14% of email use is for work.

Related Article: How Many Marketing Emails Is Too Many Marketing Emails?

Why Is Email Responsiveness so Important?

By 2022, 126.7 trillion emails will be sent worldwide every year. Thirty-five percent of those emails will require a response, while 23% will require an immediate response. Email response time is important because it fosters a sense of trust between the sender and the recipient. This is crucial in business because delays on answering emails can be interpreted as flakiness or untrustworthiness, and it can cost you clients in the long run.

Baby Boomers expect an answer to their emails in less than one hour. Clients have similar expectations about email responsiveness. Eleven percent of clients expect an answer in 15 minutes, 19% expect it in an hour and 14% expect their answer in four hours or less.

Not meeting these expectations can be an annoyance that can lead to heightened awareness of other nonverbal cues. The longer the response times, the less the interest. In fact, companies that respond within one hour are seven times more successful than companies that take two hours, and 60 times more successful than companies that take 24 hours or more to respond to their emails.

Learning Opportunities

When customer expectations are met, those customers are 80% more likely to continue to use a business, and they will eventually spend 67% more.

Related Article: How to Put the Trust Back Into Email Marketing

How to Improve Email Response Times in Your Company

Having a clearly defined email response policy within your organization is crucial. Setting clear expectations with both customers and your own staff can decrease frustration even when problems arise. There’s even tach that can help you keep on top of your email responses to ensure no email goes unanswered.

Learn more about the importance of email response times from the infographic below.

About the author

Brian Wallace

Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-2018.

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