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Personally I can relate to that, as I tend to rely solely on email.
So what do you prefer when doing business: phone, email, fax?
It gives me time to think about my answer rather than having to respond right away when asked on the phone. It is also nice to have a written account for future use.
Another great feature is the fact that I can cut and paste answers to commonly answered questions. It would be kind of ackward to hold the phone up to a tape recorder to answer frequently asked questions.
Now for wooing new business I still prefer the telephone. But as an old and *almost* reformed stutterer, initial back-and-forth by email lets me build up the familiarity I need before being comfortable on the phone.
And I agree with DrCool 100% about "gives me time to think about my answer." I just feel more comfortable with a phone conversation or - Heaven forfend! -- meeting for coffee to finalize things after hashing out all the preliminary stuff by email.
What I'm not sure about is the aspect of having something for record with emails - how legally binding is that? We all know there are possibilities to fake emails.
However we are not a specifically tech company, and it depends on your industry I guess.
Certainly after you know a person, or is an existing client, email is better. (after mailwasher has done its job!)
[edited by: chiyo at 11:42 am (utc) on April 23, 2003]
this is really the main problem I know a few people that are
swamped by emails and do have a hard time weeding out mails
those person do not respond in a timely manner.
With you all the way on that thought
If I get a "cold" sales phone call, I tend to be less than polite.
I have stopped using fax altogether as most of that was junk (OK most emails are junk too, but they are much easier to control with anti-spam software than fax)
I find that when intially creating contact with customers, the phone is GREAT. Hearing a voice on the other side comforts a lot of people.
Once contact has been made and rapport built, the conversation then moves to email in order to keep things moving and to keep records.
When a prospective client contacts me:
email or phone is fine... I prefer phone as it starts a rapport, and email enquiries tend to be one or two lines and rather uninformative.
When someone wants me as a client:
Don't EVER email me for an initial contact. It will be binned. I don't care how useful your service may be. If you do it particularly badly (like the accountancy company who harvested one of my site's email addys off the net and sent the same butt-ugly HTML email (all 789 kb of it) to sales, admin and enquiries at the one same site), I will phone you and tear you a new one. If you do it again after I have asked you to remove my address (like the same company who the next month sent only to one address, only 330 kb this time, but sent SEVEN copies), I will contact your ISP and have your butt roasted. *evil grin*
NEVER EVER fax me. I don't care how useful your service may be, I will hunt down your freephone number and waste YOUR money and YOUR resources by calling you to give you a lesson in marketing.
IF and ONLY IF your service is truely likely to be relevant to me (and I don't mean relevant like 'paper.. you use paper, don't you?', please phone. If I have time I will speak to you briefly. If I don't, I will ask you to send literature (on paper.. for reading over coffee). If you're really lucky I may ask you to come in and show me.
If you are an established client of mine:
Whatever you like is fine, but phone me... I like hearing your voice.
If you are an established supplier of mine:
You can phone me, but only as often as I have indicated is necessary. You can email me, but only a personal email (note: that doesn't just mean personalised with my name at the top) unless I have indicated I want to receive a particular newsletter or such. Don't fax me EVER unless it is a personal fax about a particular deal we are already working on.
Yes, this includes unsolicated emails - quite a few have become clients or suppliers!
We are doing business with both, clients and suppliers, and whatever way of communication they prefer, is fine with us.
And, If they show up in person on our door, we will invite them for a coffee (or whatever) and we will have time for them.
joined:Apr 27, 2003
There's nothing like a phone call to get to the bottom of an issue, cut through some BS, or just get what you need to get done right then.
I also used to run a techsupport organization and I watched support reps time after time allow issues to drag on for days via email. Two words usually got the issue resolved quickly: "Call them". Ok three words "...now."
Another means of communication that has worked very well for me is Yahoo Messenger :)
As I am located in India and most of my clients are in places like UK, Canada etc. for me telephone would have been a big cost factor as well.
So whenever I need interactive sessions it is through yahoo messenger :)
For new leads,or sales follow ups I think the phone is far better, you get the chance to make your offer and then force a response - you dont get that with email marketing.
I prefer the written record of email and IM, the ability to save interactions for further review and reflection as well as the ability to form my thoughts clearly before communicating to the other person.