Waiting For a Reply? Study Explains The Psychology Behind Email Response Time

Posted on December 1, 2015

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During this age of information overload, understanding the psychology of email communication could help you gain a competitive edge. Knowing what to expect from others, and how to optimize the messages you’re sending could be the key to your digital communication success.

Whether you're trying to close a sales deal, acquire a new customer, or recruit a new hire, sending an email at just the right time could make all the difference in the world. Understanding when to expect a response, and recognizing when the conversation is fizzling out, could help you communicate more effectively.

A new study by USC Viterbi School of Engineering researchers examined email responses to learn more about email behavior. By studying more than 2 million users exchanging 16 billion emails over the course of several months, researchers discovered interesting patterns of communication.

Here are some of their key findings:

• Expect a response within an hour. Thanks to portable electronic devices, about 50% of replies are sent in fewer than 60 minutes.

• After 48 hours days, there’s little chance of a response. There's a 90% likelihood that you'll get a response within a day or two if the recipient is going to reply.

• Teenagers respond the fastest. It's probably comes as no surprise that teenagers usually reply in 13 minutes or less.

• Young adults aren't far behind. If you’re emailing someone between 20 and 35, the average response will be 16 minutes. The response time goes up to 24 minutes for individuals ages 35 to 50.

• Older adults take the longest. People over age 50 take an average of 47 minutes to reply, but they tend to write longer messages compared to their younger counterparts.

• Gender plays a small role. A response from a woman may take about four minutes longer than a response from a man.

• Platform matters. Respondents using a laptop tend to take almost twice as long as mobile phone users.

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Category(s):Workplace Issues

Source material from Forbes

Mental Health News