It was a Sunday afternoon in January. Naturally, I was working. I came upon a stumbling block and needed to reach out to a client for information. I sent an email. I did not receive a quick response, so I sent him a text. Twenty minutes later, he called. By then, I was in the middle of another project and did not want the interruption. This got me to thinking about how we communicate in business with today’s technology.
I’m an e-mailer. Let’s get that out of the way right now. I find that email is the best way for me to communicate and stay on task. I see the email, I schedule the task on my calendar, in my Autotask, and the ongoing rolodex in my brain. I have gone rounds with clients who prefer telephone communication because it is more personal. I cannot disagree with the logic, but can we schedule that call?
I have clients that contact me through telephone, email, web-portals, text messages, and even Facebook. Everyone has their preferred medium. What happens when you are doing business with someone whose preferred method of communication clashes with yours? I try to suck it up and accommodate the customer, especially if they are a new customer. I always hope I can convert them later. Sometimes I do, other times not so much.
Text messaging in business is not ideal for me because I do not get a written record of the conversation without transferring it to a more permanent device. I have yet to download Facebook Messenger, so any private messages sent there have to wait until I am in front of my computer. For me, telephones are by far the most distracting method of communication. If I am working intently on a project and the phone rings, I am immediately jarred out of my concentration. Inevitably, the call is about an unrelated project from another customer who is calling to provide details or additional tasks needed for his or her project.
First, I have to stop and move my current project away from my view so I can now focus my attention on the caller. Second, I need to find a clean sheet of paper or pull up the project notes in Word to add to it. By the time I get off the call, I am no longer thinking about the first project, but now I am thinking about the second project. This may have been the caller’s plan all along.
I have to schedule everything or it doesn’t get done. Heck, even my dog knows his scheduled play time. I had to help my mother download Skype because of my distaste for telephones. I wonder how other people view the various communication options in business today. What about personal relationships? How do you communicate?