When is a phone call better than email?

Accountant holds phone whilst sat at laptop on white desk with a cup of coffee deciding when is best to use a phone call rather than an email #accountancy

1. When you’re selling. It’s much harder to read the tone of your buyer via email and you have no opportunity to truly engage them and build trust. If you have an outbound sales team, the chances are that you need them on the phone. As a business, this opens up a host of issues you need to manage. How many calls are being made per day? What trends can you see per week or month? What’s the average conversation time? Does a top performer spend more or less time on calls? And, how do you provide appropriate training if you’re only listening to one side of the conversation?

2. When you expect questions. In our team, we are constantly researching for articles and case studies and a quick call allows both parties to address all questions in their entirety and deal with any misunderstanding there and then. It is, however, important to takes notes to avoid losing track of what’s been asked and not forget what’s been discussed. It is perhaps optimum in these instances to combine a phone conversation with a short follow-up email, which ensures both parties are left on the same page and have something concrete to refer back to.

3. When you need to explain something complicated. Despite technological progress, there are still good reasons why companies continue to employ telephone support. In fact, it is often because of leaps in technology and access to greater functionality for consumers that the scope for more complex support requests increases. 

4. When an apology is necessary. It can be tough to accept and admit when you’re wrong. Verbalising this fact can be even tougher, particularly when you could just ping over an email or text message and avoid the awkward confrontation. However, it’s in large part for this reason that an apology via telephone carries so much more weight. It gives the opportunity to hear the remorse and sincerity in the voice rather than the somewhat cold written alternative.

5. When you’ve taken too long to reply. With email overload now a widespread epidemic, the chances of you missing an important message due to a flooded inbox at some point in time are fairly high. Like the point made above, making the effort to call up to rectify the oversight gives you the opportunity to really express your regret in a genuine way and it exudes confidence and adds veracity to the fact that you weren’t deliberately avoiding the situation/person. Treating them as a priority in this way rather than as part of some endless to-do list can turn the person’s perception of the situation and you around.

6. When it’s urgent. When life happens and something not so pleasant is thrown in your path which requires you to step back from certain responsibilities, it’s much better to pick up the phone and have a real conversation. It’s far easier to get across the importance of a situation when you can convey the intonation of your voice and is far more likely to generate empathy and understanding in the other person.

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