Why a Single Phone Call is More Valuable than a Dozen Emails



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Email has become the default communication mode for most businesses. It’s convenient; it’s cost-effective; and it’s far less intrusive than phone or face-to face conversations. But to maximize your productivity, it’s important to make data-driven marketing communication decisions.

According to research firm The Radicati Group, Inc., in 2013 there were:
+ 929 million business email accounts
+ 507 billion emails sent per day
+ An average of 78 emails received and 37 sent per user, per day

That’s a lot of email. But is it making us more productive? Although people seem to actively avoid making them, many marketing experts herald the business-boosting advantages of picking up the phone and placing a call.

Here are just a few of those advantages.

Phone calls are faster at solving problems

Yes, email is delivered instantly. But it’s not read or responded to instantly. Consider your own email habits: How quickly do you reply when an email comes in? There’s no sense of urgency with an email inbox — and if you’re trying to address a problem, your email could sit unread for hours, or days.

However, it’s not so easy to ignore a ringing phone. Chances are high that if you place a call, you’re going to get a response right away. Even leaving a voicemail message will move you more quickly toward resolution.

You can express more in less time

If you have a complex situation you need to explain to a colleague or customer, you could spend 30 to 60 minutes composing an email, and then wait for their response — and then compose another email addressing the points they’ve brought up, and wait again, and possibly continue this back-and-forth for weeks.

Or you can pick up the phone, take a few minutes to verbalize your thoughts, and get instant feedback. You can finish the back-and-forth in 10 or 15 minutes, come to a resolution, and move on (productively) with your day.

It’s hard work to misunderstand a phone conversation

Professional emails have no room for nuance. If you write an email the way you talk, and send it to someone who isn’t personally familiar with you, there’s a strong chance they’ll get the wrong impression — and this kind of misunderstanding can lead to serious problems.

Even if you spend a significant amount of time composing and agonizing over emails in an effort to remove anything that could be taken out of context, misunderstandings are still possible. If you need to discuss something technical, complicated, or sensitive, it’s best to make the call.

Email erodes your relationships

When it comes to success, there’s nothing better doing than business with a personal touch. Unfortunately, email is, by nature, impersonal and removed. The more you use it, the more distant you’ll seem to your co-workers, partners, customers, suppliers, and prospects.

It’s easy to maintain great relationships and strengthen your network through phone calls. When you’re talking to an actual person, instead of typing on a screen, a little bit of banter comes naturally—and that goes a long way. Your communication skills will also improve with every conversation.

So, if you’ve been hiding behind your inbox, it’s time to dust off that desk phone or business cell phone, and put it to work for you and your career. And in the age of social media and Internet research, the “cold call” has become a thing of the past — master the art of warm calling and turn prospects into loyal buyers!

Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter at @LarryAlton3 and LinkedIn.

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