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Email is dead

June 2nd, 2008 - Category: Google | .

Well, not quite. But as this post at ReadWriteWeb points out, real-time is very much in the ascendant on the web. The latest evidence is Google’s launch of real-time stock quotes (also here).

The mind boggles at all the productivity lost through inefficient use of email. The long emails that everyone hates to read. The never-arriving replies. The carefully worded requests for detailed information that are answered with “Yes that looks fine” in the subject line.

As everyone gets more comfortable with instant messaging, its usage in the business world will explode, as it has with consumers. Already most tech-savvy companies are using them for internal communication. The next step will be to use them to talk to customers and vendors. The customer of the future won’t be willing to accept the typical email response you get from companies today: “Thank you for emailing us. We will try to answer your query within 48 hours”. Really? But you pick up the phone when a customer calls, right?

One interesting consequence of the impending real-time revolution is that time zones will be back in fashion. They weren’t actually out of fashion, but email made them less important. Now, if you want to be available to your customers when they want to talk to you, you’ll need to think about when they’re awake. For a European company with a customer base in the US, that can mean unorthodox working hours.

(Our own small contribution to the real-time revolution, LiveLeader, is a free, AJAX-driven embedded live chat product).

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