Companies either have an official IM platform and messaging strategy or their employees will pick one for them!
Business instant messaging apps have gained tremendous popularity in recent years, with an increasing number of companies opting to use text messaging mobile apps as an alternative to email, phone calls and other methods of communication. In fact, instant messaging is transforming the corporate world in some remarkable ways.
Consider this: approximately 23 billion — that’s “billion” with a “b” — instant messages are sent each day by approximately 3 billion people. That’s over 40 percent of the global population and it translates into a send rate of more than 270,000 messages per second.
Stats like these make it clear: instant messaging for business communications is on the rise and it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing.
The Rise of Business Instant Messaging Platforms
The past several years have seen more and more companies turning to instant messaging for business communications, with other communication tools such as email and phones taking a backseat to IM. The reason? Well, the answer depends upon who you ask, but most agree that it’s largely generational.
As more Gen Z-ers enter the workforce, they join Millennials in their affinity for IMs. Many attribute the rise in instant messaging for business communication to the Millennials and Gen Z-ers in the corporate world because surveys continually find that they prefer instant messaging mobile apps over other forms of communication — even talking. One study found that over 77% of Millennials admitted that they preferred texting over talking and we can expect that Gen Z — a generation that is even more immersed in the digital world — would have an even higher percentage of those who prefer IM over speaking.
Metrics such as these support the rise of instant messaging and texting / SMS in the workplace, especially when it comes to overall efficacy. Emails carry a 20% open rate — a paltry figure compared to instant messaging’s 98% open rate. And another study found that people were 4.5% more likely to open their text messages when compared to emails.
Opening the email is just half the battle. One study examined 56 million email messages and it was found that 77% of those work emails were opened, but just 37% of employees actually read the messages! Instant messaging is far more effective, especially when you consider the shorter average length of texts vs. emails. In fact, message length is a big contributor to the rise of business instant messaging platforms.
Instant messaging aligns with the way in which we now naturally communicate — in short bursts instead of lengthy missives. This tends to make IMs more attractive to senders and recipients alike.
The conversational, back-and-forth nature of instant messages is another factor that has thrust instant messaging mobile apps into the mainstream corporate world. This too aligns with our natural communication inclinations. Emails have a delay and this results in a not-so-intuitive disconnect that extends communication timeframes in a way that can be problematic in a workplace setting. But instant messaging allows for intuitive, seamless real-time conversation that aligns with improved productivity. That’s a big win for companies seeking to boost operational efficiency and improve employee productivity levels.
Communication with clients and fellow employees account for a large segment of instant messages.
There’s also the concept of the little red dot aversion. That little red dot signaling a new, unread message is bothersome. Really bothersome. It’s so bothersome that we are compelled to launch the messaging app and read the message just so we can eliminate that oh-so-pesky red dot. This phenomenon contributes to the effectiveness of instant messaging at work.
Little red dot aversion has really transformed the way in which companies run their marketing campaigns too. The marketing world is yet another area where we’ve seen remarkable transformations as a result of instant messaging.
The Challenges of Using Instant Messaging for Business Communication
With the tremendous popularity of business instant messaging apps, we do face some challenges that should be considered. In fact, a large portion of business leaders may be shocked to discover an amazingly large hole in their risk management strategy as it relates to the use of instant messaging mobile apps.
If your company does not have an official instant messaging platform or policy, no worries. The employees will pick one — or several — for you. IM is a tool that employees are inevitably going to use, be it iMessage, WhatsApp or others as mentioned above. Instant messaging is how people choose to communicate in an efficient manner. A company that does not have an IM strategy will open up the wild west when it comes to how employees engage with others. In doing so, they lose all control over what could be very sensitive company information and data.
Consider this: it would be absolutely unthinkable for a business to be without company email. A modern company would never even entertain the idea of allowing employees to use their personal email accounts to communicate with customers, clients, coworkers and others in the business world. However, this is precisely what is happening in the world of instant messaging, with most companies lacking an established business IM platform and accompanying policies. This hole in information security and data control is massive and one that business leaders must address.
Many company leaders also fail to consider issues such as text message data retention when using consumer-grade instant messaging apps for business communications. Most consumer-focused messaging mobile apps do not allow you to “own” and export text message data. This poses a huge problem both from a practical perspective and from a regulatory compliance perspective.
Some platforms delete message data after a certain period of time. Others don’t allow for a data export of your messages. Those IM platforms that do offer message data exports provide users with a file that is difficult to actually utilize. Plus, if an employee is using a personal account on a consumer messaging app like WhatsApp or iMessage, they are under no obligation to even give the messaging data to their employer. This lack of control over messaging data is highly problematic.
Auditing is another capability that is missing from a vast majority of instant messaging apps, posing a regulatory compliance issue. Many regulatory bodies require reports and other documentation to prove compliance and avoid the fines and penalties associated with non-compliance. Text message audits are an essential part of that equation, but very few platforms actually offer any sort of auditing capability.
Regulatory compliance and instant messaging should be a very real risk management consideration for company leaders because there is a very real potential for getting slapped with tremendous fines for using the wrong mobile app for business purposes. In fact, this should be a tremendous concern from a risk management perspective — one that should be immediately addressed since the fines and penalties can be downright devastating.
For example, JPMorgan was fined a total of $200 million for recordkeeping violations after the company admitted that it allowed its staff to use WhatsApp for communication with clients. And more recently, we saw nearly $2 billion in fines handed down to Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley after they too used “unauthorized” messaging apps for business communications with clients. Again, these tremendous fines were handed down due to recordkeeping violations since WhatsApp does not allow for effective data retention, data management or auditing.
Additionally, the lack of a company IM platform is another challenge in promoting safety, inclusion, and diversity in company communications. In consumer-facing, disparate apps like WhatsApp, each individual has their own account, unaffiliated with the company. This makes it impossible to implement any sort of moderation, representing a major barrier for the effective enforcement of a company’s inclusion and diversity policy.
Instant Messaging Built for Business: SayHey Messenger
A large percentage of company leaders may read this and realize they have very little — if any — control over the use of instant messaging in the workplace. While this corporate communication method is extremely effective, you need the right business instant messaging platform to succeed.
SayHey Messenger® is a unique business instant messaging platform that solves many of the challenges that companies face when it comes to communication. The team at 7T developed SayHey Messenger® as a method for patching the holes in your company’s messaging situation.
The SayHey Messenger® app features:
- Data sovereignty for control and ownership of all messaging data;
- Fully compliant instant messaging for regulated businesses;
- Seamlessly integrates into existing company software platforms;
- Admin portal for moderation, auditing, and inclusivity;
- SayHey Spaces for company-wide broadcasts and team collaborations;
- Engaging, intuitive user interface for incredible adoption rates;
- Send compliant SMS messages to external users with full data retention; and
- Custom UI with your logo, colors and branding elements for a style that’s all yours.
SayHey Messenger® offers two types of deployment. There is a SayHey Messenger® Business deployment with a mobile app platform and web app portal. SayHey Messenger® Enterprise deployments represent the other option, with all messaging data stored in the client’s private cloud environment and fully integrated within the client’s existing software platforms including mobile applications. This allows users to access their instant messages without leaving the screen, leading to greater productivity, higher user adoption rates and better efficiency.
Consider using SayHey Messenger® as your business messaging platform. And the best part? It’s deployed in a matter of days. Contact us today to learn more about SayHey Messenger®.