A recent survey (and that should serve as a warning to you …) has concluded that email is now more important to small business than the telephone. Apparently, 72% of customers would start brickin’ it if they lost their email, whereas only 69% would palpitate over losing the use of their phones.
This raises the issue, of course, of how one form of communication can be considered more important than another. Surely it’s the communication itself that is important, far more so than the enabling technology. It highlights how many folk completely misunderstand the purposes modern communication technologies. It’s not that email is important – clearly it’s not. It is – and always has been – the communication itself that is important to businesses and relationships. Email is a great tool to ease that communication. It’s a facilitator. It has no real importance on it’s own. It’s merely useful.
It’s like saying a knife and fork are very important if you wish to eat. Nonsense. They’re very useful in facilitating the consumption of the meal, but are not in themselves important. Besides, there’s always chopsticks.
Keep in mind also that the survey in question was conducted by VIA NET.WORKS, who in my personal experience are one of the more incompetent ISPs you are likely to encounter. I should imagine that the survey was based on the fact that when their email servers go down, 72% of their customers phone to complain, whereas when their phone system goes down they don’t get a single call.