Alexander Lashkov

@alexlashkov

Why and How AI Will Save Email

October 2nd 2017

On the one hand, e-mail remains a popular means of communication. But on the other hand, when working with email, the risk of information overload increases significantly. We receive hundreds of emails, and the correspondence archive files consist of thousands of conversations. There is often no way of sorting through this diversity, and most of the correspondence is unsolicited rubbish that that will never get a response.

This results in some users, especially young people, using e-mail less frequently. It seems that the future of e-mail is threatened by the development of chatbots and messengers. However, it is possible that this technology still has a chance to solve its problems.

The solution is artificial intelligence (AI).

AI makes letters better

One of the problems underlying this information overload is the poor quality of the content of some e-mail messages. According to statistics, on average, an office employee receives up to 121 e-mails a day. It’s difficult to deal with every message immediately, so it is more likely that they will be deferred and then buried under new correspondence.

Today artificial intelligence is helping to solve this problem. For example, developers of Boomerang created an AI add-on Respondable that analyzes the text of e-mail messages and suggests ways of improvement. The robot will say whether the subject is too short or obscure. It will also warn you if the text appears impolite. Eventually, there will be only receiver-friendly e-mails, which are easy to manage. This, the sender is more likely to receive a quick response.

In addition, robots can give personalized advice on how to communicate with a particular person. For example, the Crystal service collects public data about people who are mailed by a person and generates advice on how to write them better e-mails.

The robot knows what you want to read

People most often unsubscribe from mailing lists because their mailboxes are filled with irrelevant marketing information. And here, artificial intelligence can become a problem-solving tool.

Already, e-mail marketing systems with AI-technologies can divide the site’s visitors into groups by the keywords that led them to the page, or even by their online activity. As a result, it is possible not only to create communications that are tailored to a particular user’s interests, but also to understand what kind of messages should be sent to him or her. These messages are aimed at stirring the interest of person who subscribed to the mailing list, but doesn’t read it at all.

For example, the Boomtrain service, bought by Zeta Global, analyzes users’ behavior on the site and then employs this information when writing messages. The Conversica virtual assistant sends a letter to the potential buyer a few minutes after he has sent his e-mail, and about 50 percent of the interlocutors respond to these robotic letters, because they’re written as if they’re from a real person. People like it more than impersonal automatic replies.

But that’s not all! AI-systems like the one that’s built into the SendPulse mailing service can collect information about the behavior of email subscribers in the past. As a result, we gain information on what days and what time they opened the e-mails and in which cases they clicked the links. All of this significantly increases the rate that e-mails are opened, on average, by 60 percent.

In addition, this analysis allows you to automatically change the sentences in pop-ups and subscription widgets based on the user’s preferences (for example, search-based). Consequently, users are shown the information they’re interested in, and they receive e-mails they actually read.

Conclusion

Although there are still email problems that no artificial intelligence can solve, such as the difficulty of displaying e-mails correctly on any mobile device, it’s obvious that AI can be a key factor in maintaining the popularity of e-mail in the future.

The introduction of AI technology solves both the problems of business and end users. People get e-mails that are useful and accessible, and companies notice the growth in business performance. And if that’s the case, there’s no reason why e-mail can’t remain the number one communication tool.

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