What we've learned listening to 6,000+ people complaining about email

Mathilde Collin, CEO & Co-founder at Front
19 October 20203 Min Read

We hear that email is broken all over the place. In tech articles, on blogs, and especially on social media. But we wanted to know what people were actually complaining about. And that’s why we decided to track mentions on the subject on Twitter.

That’s how we were able to analyze 6,611 mentions on Twitter over the past 2 months (that’s more than 100 unhappy people complaining about email daily!) and discover the main reasons that were pushing people to complain about email.

Reasons why people think email is broken

1. They receive way too much email

25% of people also accuse email of being broken because they just receive way too much email. From the ongoing noisy stream of notifications to marketing emails and spam, finding the information that’s relevant for them inside of their own inboxes is just becoming too complicated.

The tweet that sums it all up:“Email is broken. In 2014 over 70 trillion emails are sent to 5 billion inboxes.”

2. They were victim of a good old BCC fail

17% of the tweets we’ve analyzed were about people being victims of BCC fails or “reply to all” or worse making the mistake themselves. It seems that even though we use email every day, hitting the wrong button is always possible.

The tweet that sums it all up:“Bcc fail upsides: I know have everyone”s contact information. #opsecviolations”

3. They’re not receiving enough email (yes, you’ve read this correctly)

Oddly enough, most people will shout out on social medias about broken email when they have not been receiving emails for a while. 14% of the mentions we’ve analyzed are actually people who are wondering why they aren’t receiving any messages in their inbox or any replies to the emails they’ve sent out.

The tweet that sums it all up:“I haven”t gotten an email in seven minutes, making me immediately suspicious my email is broken.”

4. They are trying to reach companies via email and it’s not working

In 4th position come people that are complaining about companies’ broken email addresses or links inside of emails. 9% of people talking about broken email on Twitter are actually letting companies know that there is no way to reach them via email.

What broken email makes people do

No one is happy when they think their email is broken. But we now have the data to prove it.

  • 23% of people will actually use curse words when talking about broken email. That’s almost a fourth of the population willing to let go of their stellar education on social media when faced with an email bug!

  • Also, 9% of people will TWEET IN CAPS WHEN THEIR EMAIL IS BROKEN. Technically, no one should be ever to write in caps anywhere regarding any subjects but apparently, malfunctioning email makes the exception!

  • However, a rare 0.5% of people are actually really really happy when their email is broken.

Our favorite tweet:“Best news! My email is broken!”

Top 3 things that will happen when you have a broken email

Our analysis is formal: in many cases, bad news will come in twos (or even threes) when broken email is involved. Here are the top 3 events that usually happen when your email is broken:

  • You have a very important deadline or paper to send out.

  • You have also forgotten the password to your account.

  • It’s Monday or any even-numbered day of the month..

Our favorite tweet:“Reminder: today is an even-numbered day, so my work email is broken.”

Is there anything we can do to fix broken email?

The good news is, with so many people complaining about email on a regular basis, there is definitely room for improvement in the email space. And even though it’s a difficult space to innovate in, many companies have decided to take on this challenge. Because let’s face it, even if email does have its flaws, it’s still the most powerful tool on the internet. Now we just have to trust these companies to reinvent the way we communicate today.

See how we're trying to fix collaborative email at Front and share your thoughts with us.

Read IDC's study on the value of collaborative email.

Written by Mathilde Collin
Originally Published: 16 October 2014
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