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It costs how much?

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How much does it cost firms to handle email? Quite a lot, as it turns out...

Each month I collect links to interesting articles I’ve seen on the internet and I circulate them to a small (but perfectly formed) group of people with whom I’ve worked or would like to work.  It doesn’t take a massive amount of time - it’s probably an hour or so over the course of the month - but it seems to go down well.  One of the contacts on the list forwards the email to about a hundred other people and occasionally I get emails from unexpected parts of the world, thanking me for publicizing some link that they liked. I can’t begin to tell you how happy it makes me when that happens.

About thirty people receive the email directly from me and the website I use to send them (the excellent MailChimp, whom I cannot recommend highly enough) provides reports that tells me who opened the mail, when they opened it, how many times they opened it, which links they clicked on and probably what they were wearing at the time.  All of which is very useful information, albeit a little scary, and which tells me that over the last couple of emails only a third of the people I’ve sent the email to actually opened it.

I’ve been wondering how I feel about that.  There’s no law that says they must open it, just because I send it.  They didn’t ask for it and I offer it as a free service - that doesn’t entitle me to feel aggrieved if I’m offering a service someone doesn’t want.  And yet, I do still feel a little bit aggrieved.  While it doesn’t take a great amount of time to compile the email, a lot of thought goes into it and I’m not doing it just for the sake of something to do.  Not opening the email feels a bit like being ignored, and we all know how good that feels, don’t we?  

This was on my mind when I came across an interesting article from the Science Daily; according to their research, it costs companies between £5,000 and £10,000 per employee, per year to handle email.  To quote from the article, “employees continue to disparage email, despite finding it essential in many respects. Problems such as ambiguous and unclear messages, email "overload," security and privacy issues, and email interruptions all confound effective and efficient work practices for many working people.

I’ve just unsubscribed a few people from my list, as the reports say they haven’t opened any of the last five emails I’ve sent.  I felt good doing it, although that’s a bit silly as they won’t notice they’re not getting the emails anyway!  Perhaps I’ve actually done them - and the companies for whom they work - a bit of a favour.

(By the way, if you’d like to receive the monthly collection of links - and perhaps even read it - just send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.)

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