Millions of people are on Facebook and Twitter is all the rage, yet there are still times when it makes good sense to pick up the phone and call someone. Here are eight really good reasons to call someone rather than contact them electronically.
- They Called You. I consider it a matter of etiquette. When a friend or client contacts you, its best to respond using the medium they used. If they e-mailed you, it’s OK to e-mail back. But if they phoned you, use the phone to respond to their call.
- You Don’t Know Them; They Don’t Know You. Just like employers should never hire employees based on a résumé alone, you should never attempt to work with a new client you’ve never spoken with. It’s OK for clients to choose you based on your electronic profile. It’s even OK to use e-mail or other electronic means for initial introductions. But at some point—sooner rather than later—you need to actually talk with your client if you’re serious about building a relationship and gaining their respect. The phone is good, but in this case a face-to-face meeting is even better.
- Emotions are Running High. Written communication is never the proper medium when you or someone you’re communicating with is angry or upset. The written word doesn’t allow for nuances of meaning the way the spoken word does and can lead to greater misunderstanding or more injured feelings.
- Time is of the Essence. If someone needs to act quickly or get time-sensitive information, it might be better to call. While many people read and respond to e-mail throughout the day, there are still people on the check-your-messages-once-a-day plan. When you have information someone like that absolutely must receive, give them a ring.
- Understanding is Essential. Sometimes the deal is complicated and requires the parties to talk things out. In cases like this, the telephone may be a better medium for getting and giving feedback and for ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Confirm the details of the conversation by following up with a written message.
- One Hundred Forty Characters Just Won’t Cut It! E-mail doesn’t limit the number of characters you use, but occasionally the message is too long and complicated to type out—especially if you’re using the phone’s tiny keyboard. Sometimes it’s easier to explain the situation than to try to put it all in writing.
- You Haven’t Talked in Awhile. Social networking is great, but now and then a phone conversation really warms up a relationship. Make it a point to telephone friends and former clients from time to time. People will appreciate your taking the time.
- Everyone Isn’t on the Internet. When you’re tech savvy, it’s easy to forget that some people aren’t. There are people who only have e-mail at work. There are even people who don’t use the Internet at all. For these people, the telephone is still the preferred communication tool. Whenever you meet new prospects, always ask how they prefer to be contacted. Honor the wishes of those who prefer the phone, by always giving them a call.