In a world where email has become the primary method of communication and texting has become much more commonplace, the importance of picking up the phone has been forgotten. I’ve realized in my work at Farland Group that sometimes an old-fashioned phone call is the most effective means of reaching someone. Human contact is extremely valuable to the customer experience and what you can accomplish together. I will share the four main lessons I’ve learned from opting to pick up the phone instead of sending yet another email.
Picking up the phone…
Reduces decision making time. A phone call holds the person on the other end of the line accountable to collaborate with you on solving the issue at hand. Whether the task can be accomplished in the initial call or not, hearing a voice on the other end of the line adds gravity and reality to the situation, whereas an email can be left to be answered “later” (or not at all).
Enables clarity. Humans tend to improvise in the absence of information. If there is any question as to the purpose of your outreach, it can easily and quickly be cleared up on a phone call, whereas assumptions might be made if done through email, increasing the risk of misunderstanding.
Changes the dynamic of the conversation. Tone can be hard to decipher through email and often misinterpreted. I’ve been surprised at how friendly and approachable some people are on the phone, while their email tone is curt. Understanding they have two different voices – an email voice and phone voice – helps in knowing how to approach the relationship.
Empowers the relationship. Picking up the phone isn’t all about the time it saves, it is also about the feeling it leaves the person on the other end. By creating the opportunity for conversation and joint problem solving, you’re giving them the opportunity to be more effective in their role as well, which they will appreciate and remember.
If all of your communication is digital, you are missing a big opportunity to not only accomplish more in a shorter time frame, but to also build greater value into your relationships with your customers. Before you fire off another email, ask yourself if it would be more effective to add a human element, and then dust off the receiver and dial!