The annual battle of the emojis has commenced and ? has come out triumphant! Brandwatch tracked and analysed emoji use over the first half of 2022 and the ‘face with tears of joy’ has made a comeback from second place in 2021.
Emojis got standardised in 2010 and were originally based on symbols from Japanese comics and now, over 87% of the UK population are emoji users.
Emojis help display facial expressions, tone of voice and human gestures in digital communications. They are used today to break down barriers in formal communication and bring conversations down to a personal level and can be a way to enrich text based and virtual communications.
Sometimes it can go horribly wrong, getting sent the ? emoji from your Granny Moira isn’t a great way to start your day.
Emojis are processed by the brain as non-verbal information, which means we interpret them as emotional communication. Emojis are a great way to mitigate potential misunderstanding – remote working makes it hard to interpret written communication without face-to-face interaction – so we can communicate emotionally, digitally ?
With face-to-face interaction, there are 3 elements:
- Tone of voice
- Body language
Body language and tone of voice account for the most effective form of communication, which leaves words bringing up the rear ?. Therefore, communication that is done over text must rely on something other than words to provide context.
So, what about using Emojis in communications with customers?
The landscape of collaborative tools has flourished in recent years so our omnichannel platforms are already peppered with Emojis: commonly used by some – or at the very least, an option. And when used correctly, Emojis can result in warmth, perceived empathy, and social presence – they certainly get people’s attention ?️
However, perhaps we should use them with caution when communicating with customers, and consider the following:
- Emojis aren’t universal and can get lost in translation.
- They should certainly not be used when talking about sensitive information, serious issues or when we have an angry, upset customer.
- We can’t always tell which generation our customer falls into either, and some may consider it unprofessional, offensive, or even not understand an Emoji. I know for sure, that my Boomer Dad probably couldn’t comprehend anything more than ☺️ – Rumour has it, Gen Z now finds ? passive-aggressive, even going so far to call it offensive.
If we do decide to risk an Emoji with a customer, it’s probably best to take the lead from them and mirror their actions. And maybe we should remember “A picture paints a thousand words”, remains as relevant as ever with over 10 billion Emojis sent in a day ? – that’s a shocked face for you boomers – but maybe we need to educate Granny Moira…