Common Problems When it Comes to Email

Email is still the most important communication tool used in business today.

Despite the rise in social networks, text messaging and instant messaging more people turn to their email accounts when business communication really matters.

But that doesn’t mean that email is without its faults. There are plenty of problems that people have with email and as an email administrator, it is important to understand the issues that your users face when it comes to sending, receiving, replying or forwarding their electronic messages.

Impersonal communication

Anyone who has used email has been guilty of taking the content of an email message out of context. Communication over the telephone or in person gives us the luxury of reading the tone of a person’s voice or their body language. Email offers no such luxury. To make up for the lack of personalization, people sometimes stick those little emoticons in their messages, but that just makes for an unprofessional looking email.

Instead of looking for ways to give email a personal touch, email communications should be direct, forward and clear in the message that is being conveyed.

Email takes up too much time

The average worker spends two and a half hours writing emails every day. While that statistic is in itself overwhelming, note well that there are those who spend much more time than that on emails since this number is only the average.

While email is the primary method of communication in business, it doesn’t have to consume so much of our time. Users need to be taught how to manage and prioritize their emails so that they can spend less time hitting the send button and more time on their primary tasks.

Email is everywhere

Nowadays, just about everyone has a smartphone. While these are great for killing time while sitting in a waiting room or standing in line, they also have connected us to our email accounts so we can check, write and reply no matter where we are.

While it becomes annoying for the user, it also becomes a problem for your IT department. Most mobile endpoints have not been secured in the same manner as a desktop or laptop. Unsecured devices that access email servers, and send emails on your company’s behalf, could be doing damage to network resources and your company’s reputation.

Email is responsible for too many threats

Piggybacking on the last point is the fact that users nowadays are all too aware of the threats that email poses to them and the company. Spam, phishing, spear phishing, malicious software, hoaxes, etc. can all be sent via email.

Unfortunately, not enough is done by organizations to mitigate against these threats when they are delivered via electronic messaging. Instead, resources are spent protecting the network and its perimeter while email is left with minimal protection. Taking the proper, proactive, steps to secure your company’s email resources will go a long way in helping to keep this problem at bay.

My email doesn’t work

Like anything, email will break down every now and then. Whether it is a server that goes out or the email client software has a problem, you can be assured that there will come a time when people will actually complain that they can’t get to their emails.

Teaching users how to perform some basic troubleshooting can help alleviate this problem to some extent. However while many will go through the recommended steps and then call for additional support if they can’t fix the problem, others will feel empowered with their newfound knowledge and mess things up even worse. The best approach to take is to make sure that users who have been training to troubleshoot understand that when the methods you have taught them do not solve the problem they are required to call in for support, not get creative with their troubleshooting.

Of course, these only scratch the surface of what problems people complain about when it comes to email. If you have something that you have heard from your users, please share it with the rest of the readers and as always, let us know how you handled the problem!

Written by Jeff


  1. Jason Rogers · October 10, 2012

    2 1/2 hours a day on average spent on email?! Do these people write novels via email or what? On a busy day I spend about 1 hour reading/writing emails and I can’t figure out why so high the average is. Probably those in business positions spend more time emailing, I don’t know but 2.5 hours is about a third of a typical work day. When you add 2 or more hours for a meeting or a conf call, there is no time left to do the actual work.

  2. Many Monroe · October 11, 2012

    My biggest problem with e-mail is sorting the messages. I have to give credit to Gmail and Outlook, which have come up with very good systems, but sometimes I feel they aren’t enough. Or perhaps it’s my fault, that I keep signing up on mailing lists that I don’t have the time to read. I actually have no problem with e-mail tones. Maybe too it’s just the way I think. If I get e-mail from a business person, I imagine him or her talking to me businesslike. If it comes from my mom or a friend, I’d hear her giggles just by reading it.

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