1 in 10 sent instant message to client or colleague by mistake

  • The research shows that two thirds (66%) of us now communicate with clients and colleagues using instant message (IM) platforms such as WhatsApp.
  • For a quarter of us, our personal phone also doubles up as our business phone, meaning the dangers of sending personal messages to professional contacts are heightened significantly.
  • 14% of us admit to accidentally sending a personal message to a work contact that was originally meant for a partner, friend or family member.
  • 68% said they did so directly, with 32% stating their message was sent to a group meaning more than one client or colleague may have seen it.

Research by YourBusinessNumber has revealed that more than one in 10 of us have sent an instant message to a client or colleague by mistake and, for many, the content of that message was NSFW.

The research shows that two thirds (66%) of us now communicate with clients and colleagues using instant message platforms such as WhatsApp.

What’s more, for a quarter of us, our personal phone also doubles up as our business phone, meaning the dangers of sending personal messages to professional contacts are heightened significantly.

No surprise then, that 14% of us admit to accidentally sending a personal message to a work contact that was originally meant for a partner, friend or family member.

68% said they did so directly, with 32% stating their message was sent to a group meaning more than one client or colleague may have seen it. Luckily for a third, they were able to delete it before anyone managed to see it.

While the most common IM mishap is thankfully nothing more than a general conversational message, the second most common message sent in error was something of a generally rude or insulting nature.

Says George Lineker, Co-founder of YourBusinessNumber:

“The modern world is moving at 100mph and this is no different when it comes to the way we communicate. Instant messaging, in particular, allows us to fire off work-related correspondents at speed and this has become the primary method of communication for many.

“But with a quarter of us also using our personal phones to contact clients and colleagues, the danger of delivering a private message to the wrong person has never been greater. It’s a mistake that can cause minor confusion at best, or gut-wrenching embarrassment depending on what is sent.

“Luckily today, you no longer have to juggle two handsets to keep clear separation between your personal and professional lives. There are some very cost-effective platforms, such as YourBusinessNumber, that will allow you to ensure no misguided meme ever reaches the wrong person again.”

Survey of 3,718 UK people was commissioned by ProperPR on behalf of YourBusinessNumber via consumer research platform, FindOutNow (28/04/22). See full data tables online here.

Chris Price

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