One of the things I have learnt over the years is that people just don’t like talking to people on the phone. Why would you actually speak to someone when you could send a passive aggressive email at a time that is convenient to you and unlikely to be convenient to the recipient? I mean, surely your email is more important than the 200 other emails the recipient has received today from other people doing the exact same thing as you!
I have thought for a long time that there is a lot to be said for picking up the phone and just chatting with someone. Sometimes the aggressive tone you construe in an email is unintended, or simply not there. When you speak to the person you wonder why you had started an email war at all.
I coined a term nearly 20 years ago – ‘call resistance’. That is, when you can’t bring yourself to talk to someone on the telephone and do everything possible to avoid it. Personally, I think call resistance is a symptom of poor call handling technique. Back in the day, when email was not really a thing (!), you had to speak to people on the telephone. And, call handling was a skill that staff were trained on at work. The training not only made call handling more efficient, it gave staff confidence. Training helped staff deal with difficult customers and clients, and how to handle objections professionally. Staff were taught how to negotiate on the fly, and to end a call politely even if they needed to agree to disagree. And in sales environments, putting a bit of structure around calls helped staff build a rapport with customers and ultimately increased sales.
The art of call making and taking, however, seems to be lost in 2017. A simple query of a consumer or client could easily be resolved with a 30 second phone call – and let’s face it, nearly everyone has their phones with them these days so you have a pretty good chance of catching them. However, many would prefer spending considerable time labouring over the wording of an email that may never receive a reply – partially because you have just made it too hard for your customer/client.
So next time you wonder why it is taking so long to hear back from someone, think about picking up the phone instead of sending them an email. And if you want to get serious about getting your staff to relate to your stakeholders, think about some call handling training.
T One P Enterprises provides tailored training programs for businesses, big and small. ‘Overcoming Call Resistance’ is an interactive program for small groups and can be designed for a half or full day, according to your requirements. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote.