Business Briefs: B2B Dealbreakers, Emojis in Your Email & Microsoft’s Findings

Welcome to The Metropreneur’s newest series: Business Briefs. The world of academic publications features fascinating findings from real-world experiments in business and the marketplace. Here are some key takeaways and applicable nuggets of knowledge that may be helpful for your business.

B2B Dealbreakers

Healthy Ohio businesses have good relationships with customers…and they also have good relationships with other businesses. When a business works with an outside agency or service provider, it’s in a business-to-business (B2B) relationship.

And things can go wrong, very wrong in B2B relationships. 

Researchers interviewed 24 owners of consulting firms to get a better understanding of what happens when things go wrong. Based on the interviews, they identified four types of transgressions, and the typical consequences for those transgressions. 

  1. Minor infractions: An example of a minor infraction might be a personality issue, and this is something that can normally be adjusted internally or may involve reassignment of players.
  2. Negative disruptions: These include creeping expectations or delays in payment. These are typically addressed through reporting and push-back. 
  3. Intensified adverse effects: Cases of such, which include uncooperative or completely undermining behavior, typically required senior management intervention.
  4. Intolerable transgressions: These are the deal-breakers; unethical treatment, mistreatment, or a hostile work environment. These terminate the relationship. 

The authors recommend clear communication to avoid Intolerable Transgressions.  

Read more here

Psychological Contract Breach: Unraveling the Dark Side of Business-to-Business Relationships – Alvina Gillani, Smirti Kutaula & Pawan S.Budhwar, Journal of Business Research

More on that Microsoft Study . . .

Many local offices and offices across the U.S. have shifted to remote operations. That makes Microsoft’s recent study on remote work especially interesting. The headlines about the research focused on one data point: Remote employees have experienced a 10% increase in the length of their work week. 

But there was more, so much more, in the official report. From a pool of 61,182 remote Microsoft employees, researchers looked at de-identified emails, calendars, video calls and instant messages to track and compare work habits from prior to remote COVID. Emails increased by about 10% as well. 

While emails and work hours increased, something very important decreased: bridges. That is, work teams grew more siloed, they worked and communicated more with each other, and less with colleagues on other teams. The researchers speculated, “Together, these effects may make it harder for employees to acquire and share new information across the network.”

Of course, there is a limitation worth noting: All employees tracked were employees of Microsoft, and different workplaces cultivate different cultures. Still, as remote technology continues to evolve, the study’s findings are worth further thought. 

Read more here

The Effects of Remote Work on Collaboration Among Information Workers
– Longqi Yang, David Holtz, Sonia Jaffe, Siddharth Suri, Shilpi Sinha, Jeffrey Weston, Connor Joyce, Neha Shah, Kevin Sherman,,Brent Hecht & Jaime Teevan – Nature Human Behavior

Gifs & Pics: How Much is Too Much?

Compelling communication initiatives require more than text. People like pictures, yes? YES.  But only a certain amount. Too much is clutter

The International Journal of Research in Marketing published a study this summer trying to find the sweet spot. Researchers ran a barrage of email experiments to assess when the number of included gifs and emojis reach the no-no point. Across all experiments, an emoji was included in the subject line, to increase open rates. So, an emoji is at least helpful there as a starting point. 

In one experiment, emails were sent to 10,701 app customers. Emails that included either a gif OR an emoji in the text were associated with reductions in unsubscribe rates…but using BOTH a gif and an emoji in the message resulted in an increase in unsubscribe rates. 

In another experiment, the authors enlisted 219 business students to view and assess an email. The inclusion of a single gif had positive results. In terms of emojis, they were viewed as providing visual enrichments, but increasing numbers of emojis were associated with clutter. 

Read more here

How Rich is too Rich? – Yashar Bashirzadeh, Robert Mai, & Corinne Faure, International Journal of Research in Marketing