It’s Easier to Communicate by Telephone.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

E-mail may seem like the fastest and most efficient way to communicate. But it is really?

A recent survey of the top 100 American internet retailers found that customers waited an average of one minute and forty one seconds to talk to a human being on the telephone, compared to an average of seventeen hours to receive a response to an e-mail.

And in addition to being a lot faster it seems that the telephone is actually a better customer service tool as well.

We all assume that the opportunity to edit our written words means that we give a better impression to clients by e-mail, but research has shown that communicating by e-mail alone can actually be bad for customer relations.

A famous study by social psychologist and law professor Janice Nadler, asked pairs of subjects to negotiate the purchase of a car. The teams were instructed to negotiate through e-mail only, but researchers secretly told half of the teams to precede their e-mail negotiations with a short introductory telephone chat.

The difference in results was astounding. Negotiators who made a phone call first were four times more likely to reach an agreement than those who communicated through e-mail only. The teams who hadn’t spoken were not only more likely to reach a stalemate during negotiations, but reported feeling much angrier and more resentful about the entire negotiation process.

The possibilities for miscommunication by e-mail are much higher than with telephone calls. It’s much harder to build rapport in writing. E-mail can lull people into a false sense of security, and the distance it creates means that it is much easier to be impolite than you would in a face to face situation, or even worse, to have your tone misconstrued when you’re just trying to be friendly.

Of course e-mail has its place, when you need to keep a record, or convey technical information. But for building and maintaining relationships with your customers and suppliers, it’s hard to beat face to face meetings or telephone calls.

If you’re already a great believer in meetings and often away from your phone, or even if you just want your customers to hear a real human voice when they call, call handling solutions from CSnotepad Virtual Receptionists could be the answer.

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