Is Phone or Email Better for Customer Communication?

There exist a variety of ways to communicate with customers, some very personal, others more from a distance. Depending on your particular business and the desires of your clients, you may choose one or another, or go with a mixture of approaches. Either way, it’s important to know which style is most effective for business. In this article we’ll discuss the pros and cons of phone versus email communication to help you decide which one is best for you.

Phone Communication
The benefits of phone communication are many and varied. The first is the instantaneous nature of it, allowing you to share and receive information without having to wait for a later response. It also provides the ability to hear vocal cues in the person you’re speaking to. So much of language is found in these subtleties that gives us insight into the meaning behind words. These can be lost or misinterpreted when the message is sent over email. If your business wishes to provide a personal touch to clients, phone communication is better for this as well. Lastly, it allows the conversation to ebb and flow between the two parties in a natural way that could result in a better overall solution for everyone involved. This back and forth could take much longer over email, causing some topics to be forgotten or overlooked.

There are a handful of drawbacks associated with phone communication. With the rise of smartphones that include texting, messaging, tweeting and other forms of text communication, many individuals no longer like to speak over the phone. It can also be difficult to schedule phone calls if you clients hold down busy jobs that require them to frequently be in and out of the office. Phone communication might be difficult if your client has a phone system with poor voice quality, preventing you from being able to hear everything the other person is saying. Those who are hard of hearing might also struggle with phone conversations. In these cases, seeing the information in written form could be advantageous.

Email Communication
Although email is sent almost instantaneously, it is not always read as such. Those who carry a smartphone or tablet have the ability to receive notifications when an email is received, allowing them to respond right away. This is also the case if an individual spends a good deal of time at a desk with a laptop or desktop computer. If you want to attach contracts, photos, or other digital documents, email would work the best. Email creates an exact record of the words that transpired between both parties, lessening the possibility of miscommunication or misinterpretation. It also allows you to refer back to what was said if you have questions later down the line.

Unfortunately, not everyone has an email account, or the ability to access their email frequently. If a client only checks their email once a week, it could be quite difficult getting their needs met in a timely manner. Some emails end up as junk mail so your customers don’t even receive the information you’ve sent them. This type of delay could cause serious frustration with both parties. The last thing to consider is whether or not your customers just don’t like using email, and prefer an old fashioned phone call.

Texting: A happy medium?
Some people view texting as the perfect marriage between phone and email communication. It combines the instant access of a phone call with texting capabilities. Individuals can also include emojis, images, or other attachments via text. Texting is also considered somewhat personal and casual, so it’s important to check with clients in advance to determine their communication style preference.