With more and more businesses using social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, BT has been looking at how this type of communication tool can be used to develop business relationships.
The company teamed up with psychologist Gladeana McMahon and found that it is quite easy for businesses to send out the wrong messages when using virtual communication channels.
This has led BT Business to urge organisations to take their virtual identities more seriously.
The research found that companies could actually drive away business by failing to identify customers’ digital personality types and to take into account the differences between face-to-face and virtual communications.
30% of the workers questioned in the survey said they felt harassed by the sheer number of messages receive.
Many workers said that they were unsure of the best way to contact people, which could indicate that companies are failing to unify their communications technology.
The trend to manage working relationships through social and business networks is adding to the volume of work related communications.
Ten percent of those surveyed said they had customers and clients as friends on personal social networking sites.
According to Gladeana McMahon, identifying digital personality types can go some way to replacing the clues we receive from face to face communications through body language and facial expression.
Several character traits were identified by the research.
Those with an ‘Open’ digital personality were happy to use communication channels such as social networking sites, while those with a ‘conscientious’ personality were likely to prefer sending emails that can be drafted and checked.
Those with an ‘agreeable’ digital personality may have difficulty with prioritising, and try to respond to every message, while ‘neurotic’ personalities may have a tendency to misinterpret digital communications.
The research was based on an online survey of 3473 workers in organisations with less than 500 employees, who had been employed for at least 3 months.