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Five Ways Conversation Beats Email

Conversation beats email

Within my career I have come across many people that have distinct apprehensions about having telephone conversations as part of their job, instead choosing to rely on email to communicate with business associates, and customers. The majority of the time I have been told this is because telephone conversation requires immediate response to any queries, and this is quite a daunting prospect to many people.

Whilst this is a fair opinion, my experience has highlighted that, in terms of success rate, conversation beats email the majority of the time. In my line of work especially, telephone conversation is a vital aspect when collecting payment. Balance is key between phone conversation and emails, however one cannot exist without the other; you will find that solely emailing a customer will take a great deal longer to come to a decision than phoning would, alternatively phone conversations should rely on emails to confirm any conversation you have with your customer, for future reference.

Conversation beats Email by:

Building Confidence

It is clear that people are avoiding telephone conversations due to lack of confidence; however, fully preparing for the call beforehand builds confidence, along with experience of handling calls and difficult people; ultimately benefiting your job as a whole.

Using the Correct Tone

When dealing with a customer, the direction a conversation can go relies heavily on tone. Tone is very difficult to get across on an email and can, at times, be misconstrued; this can potentially affect a business relationship.

The tone of your voice can determine the success of a conversation; statistics show that customers feel 86% of a successful conversation is all in the tone, whilst 14% on the actual words said. Subsequently, you could be saving, developing and beginning a positive business relationship simply by using a positive and friendly tone during a phone conversation with a customer; something that is difficult to achieve when using email.

Conveying Personality

In the same way that tone is difficult to express in emails, personality can be difficult to convey in writing. When you speak to a customer, potential customer or business associate on the phone you are given a platform to convey a friendly personality that people will want to work with; after all, even if you can’t see the person you are speaking to, you can most certainly hear when a person is smiling. This ties in with the fact the enabling personality to shine through in communications with your customers is much more personable, consequently better relationships are formed as a result.

Providing Greater Clarity

I’m sure I’m not the only one to get caught up in an email conversation where one person isn’t entirely sure what is being explained to them, which then leads onto a mile long email trail of explanations; this is where conversation over the phone comes in handy, whilst you may still need to clarify to the person on the other end of the phone this can be done much quicker than sending emails back and forth. And of course, there are, at times, instances in which a matter is much too complex to convey over email.

Of course clarity can also work the other way round, if you have explained a situation over the phone, I would certainly recommend following up with an email to detail what has been spoken about and therefore any miscommunication can be dealt with at an earlier stage rather than later and be left with no backup of the original phone conversation.

Enabling you to Overcome Avoidance

If someone is ignoring your emails, as often happens in collections, you will find it much more effective to contact a person by telephone. Say, for example, you contact a person through their company switchboard and are transferred directly you can’t avoid someone speaking on the other line, unless of course they hang up on you, an extremely rare occurrence in the business world.

Take a look at our Collection Strategy Toolkit for further information, advice and resources to improve your credit management function.