|Is e-mail dead?|
Im getting less and less inclined to use e-mail to contact people, and more and more inclined to improve my "phone skills".
the reasons are that:
- the cost of writing an e-mail + e-mailing back and forth...is higher than just calling
- the risk of not getting a reply, in the first place is significant
- or a combination of the two above...you get a reply, but then you dont get a reply to your reply LOL.
I've been an online junkie ;) and used to e-mailing people + contacting friends on facebook, whenever I got the chance...but Im on the brink of making a habit of exclusively looking out for phone numbers and calling people.
Has anyone made the same experiences? I no longer think of e-mail as an effective communication tool.
We email people if its a simple issue, otherwise phone calls are more productive.
It's got something to do with cell phones. People used to be able to say "I'll call you back later" or "He's in a meeting" or simply not pick up at all and let the answering machine take it. In the case of a caller with a specific question, that gives you time to look up the answer to the question.
Now it is a matter of Higher Law that if your telephone rings at any time, in any place-- up to and including a public-restroom stall while you are in the act of never-mind-what-- you must instantly answer it. And, conversely, it is not enough to leave a message. You are allowed to call over and over until the callee does pick up. So obviously the telephone is the way to go.
Rumor has it the rules are different in Europe. But that's how it works in the US.
Half and half? :)
I'm not sure if you're talking about a sales or customer support perspective, but from a sales perspective:
I think most people are getting overwhelmed by email. Lots of folks get 100+ a day and I know I'm not the only one who can't necessarily respond to all email within a reasonable amount of time (say 48 hours).
My phone is even worse though, and I've got three numbers... my office which always goes to my voicemail (which goes to email), my "direct" line which is given out sparingly (but generally answered if I'm at my desk), and my cell phone which is given out even more sparingly, always left on silent, and very rarely answered unless you're family or personal friends or maybe the boss.
For me, at least, a cold contact via email is much more convenient than by phone (chances are I'd never return your phone call). You probably have a 2/3 chance of getting an email response from me, even if it's a thanks but no thanks.
For customer support, I expect to be contacted in the mode I contacted you in, unless I specify otherwise. Generally I prefer email, but sometimes the phone is necessarily just for clarity's sake.
|I no longer think of e-mail as an effective communication tool. |
It's still effective (and my method of choice), but the way I manage it has changed dramatically over the last five years.
Email is essential if an audit trail is required.
For more general communication I phone if an immediate response is required otherwise email lets the recipient reply in their own time.
It all depends a little how you organize things. In my business I use a ticket system to communicate with customers by email. It is a small business and we get only 10-15 emails every day, nevertheless the ticket system pays off. I prefer customers write emails. And usually I contact them by email. It is a B2C business and most of my customers are at work anyway during the day and do not want to be contacted by phone.
Personally I have made myself hard to reach by phone. I have a phone on my desk but it is not possible to dial through from the outside. Every call goes through my assistent and she filters the calls - so my phone actually rings perhaps once a week. I do not give my cell phone number to anyone business related. Not to suppliers and especially not to customers. It is not on my business cards, only my assistent has it.
I don't rely upon email unless I know in advance that a client already knows me and has cleared my email address as a non-spammer. Else I figure my email has a 50-50 chance of being either ignored or caught by a Gmail-like spam filter. (Good case for the phone.)
When I need to get things done I call. When I don't care as much or it's not a critical priority I email.
More times I takes longer to construct a well laid email with correct spelling/grammar then it does just to call someone and get a answer in seconds.