If you are a recruiter, insurance agent, in the medical/dental profession, or any other field that requires a fair amount of placing phone calls to customers or prospects, I feel you can benefit from this article.
The scope of this article deals with outside professionals making phone calls to customers or prospects, not communication among family or friends, or co-workers.
If you are like me, I do not enjoy receiving calls on my personal cell phone when I am at work. Even if I am free, I will not pick up. I am there to work and really do not want to be seen (or bothered by) answering calls, unless urgent. And to be honest, I don’t feel others focusing on work should hear personal conversations. This is my personal choice, not what I feel is right or wrong. I realize there are many out there who do answer their personal phones during the work day and that is fine, if not abused. The point I am focusing on is personal choice.
As an introvert, and personally feeling that email is more efficient (to be responded to in my own time), within the realm of the scope expressed above, I prefer email over phone calls. Many extroverts also prefer email over phone for the same reasons.
Frankly, the customer or prospect does not care if you feel phone calls are more personable, offer higher likelihood of up sells, cross-sells, etc. The bottom line is that if the person on the end of the line is annoyed with the volume or type of call received, your business process needs to be re-aligned to the preferences of others.
In the end, if the customer is happy through their preferred contact method, they will continue engaging and doing business with you. This also leads to increased revenue.
A simple way to do this is to ask your customers whether they prefer to be contacted by phone or email. This can be done easily on any web contact form and/or customer relationship management (CRM) system. High level concept shown below:
Training on your side should emphasize and enforce this contact preference. Email contact preferences should never be overlooked, even if you are a ‘phone person’.
From my experience, the vast majority of companies do not offer (or follow) these preferences.
I feel that in today’s world, there is no reason not to allow email. Good training programs can greatly reduce or eliminate concerns, such as expressing incorrect statements in writing.
Allowing email communication can significantly reduce ‘phone tag’ and saves people from having to find a private area for personal calls.
Quite simply, if you ignore (or do not ask for) the customer’s preferences, you are not maximizing sales, revenue and customer satisfaction/retention.
There are times when email is not always a good option. There might be a language barrier, or someone might not be able to express things clearly in writing. In these cases, you might want to consider asking the customer if they can set some time aside to follow up by phone.