Are the hundreds of email flooding your inbox everyday a better way of reaching you than phone calls? James Thomas ponders on the keys to efficient communication.
How do you communicate? Do you prefer to connect online? Or do you pick up the phone to get in touch with your contacts? And either way, what makes you decide which one to use first?
Email, social media and other means of online communications make it so very easy and noninvasive to send a message, but are they always the best option?
Anything of high importance will always be done more effectively through a person-to-person conversation, so the phone should be your number one choice for anything you consider sensitive, or in need of a discussion.
That said, using the internet to send a message is easy, fast and gives you notes to look back at. I have always considered online communication a less invasive way of getting in touch with someone, as it gives them the opportunity to get back to you at their own convenience, which, depending on the subject and the importance, usually creates the decision on the response time.
I receive messages that need my attention constantly, and with the availability of mobile and the connection increasingly stronger, I can read and respond while on the go. Which is great - until I come across a message which could have been dealt with more effectively over a phone call.
I like to receive an initial message online via email or social media and to be able to respond in my own time. Especially if a client or sales enquiry has tried to reach me. I like to gauge the subject; and then make a decision.
Unless you're needed in person or a discussion is inevitable, sending an email to work colleagues or clients is the best way of keeping in contact and developing a relationship. It helps to keep logs of interactions and create data which can be analysed for business development; keeping track of a phone call for information like customer service can become inaccurate and manually time consuming.
The key to efficient communication is opening channels which will help you and your business community decide the best course of action for each type of interaction.
If people can see that you're active on social media, they will connect with you for quick information or to put across their point of view, i.e customer service praise or complaints. If a line of communication is seen to be active and up-to-date, it will save a phone call, which saves time to be spent on more urgent matters.
The same goes for work related interactions. If there is a preferred way to contact and interact with colleagues which is active through the company, it can become very effective and easy to track, respond and monitor the conversations happening inside the business.
The only way to effectively achieve success at this is through developing a plan specifically tailored to your business, taking into consideration how your clients interact with you, how your business could save money, and how data can be created that would help to develop the business.
Whatever you decide, you have to consider that there will always be clients or colleagues who have their own ways of communicating. Educate and adapt to create a strategy that works for every part of your business community.
What helps you make a decision on internet vs phone?