The New Communication Evil: Text, Email, and the “Contact Us” Form!
It’s not a new revelation that the most common form of personal communication has evolved to text and email for business but maybe it’s time to say enough is enough!
Leading forms of communication among users in the United States as of January 2022
A note about the graphic above, the key is USE/DON’T USE, it is not a percentage of combined totals.
Forbes top five forms of business communication:
Team Messaging Applications
US smartphone users send and receive five times more texts than the number of calls per day. According to a recent report, most Americans would rather send a text than make a call. The particular report used data from tracking cell phone activities in 12 countries and measured users' engagement in chatting, texting, and calling. (Chicago Tribune)
There are occasions when an interactive conversation is the only way to achieve the necessary results you need.
It’s clear, concise, and quick (provided you can get someone to answer their phone)
It can remove any ambiguity and may save countless hours of unnecessary back-and-forth typing.
Clearly, the use of the above forms of communication would be dictated by circumstances. The purpose of including the information was not to dissect it, it has been included only to provide context to the topic. Gravitating to text and email wasn’t enough, the Contact Us form allows a complete lack of interaction.
On two recent occasions, one business and one personal, the only option available at the time, I had to complete a Contact Us form.
The personal situation started out as an unfortunate matter of timing – online car shopping on a Sunday. The ironic part of this was the subsequent communication from the salesperson. His preferred, and only, form of communication to date, has been text messaging. It’s a matter of personal choice but I really have no desire to buy a car via text messaging.
The business situation, detailed in a recent blog related to email delivery issues, I was trying to contact multiple email service-related experts, during regular business hours. None of them, NOT ONE, included a phone number or an email on their websites. From my perspective, I find this completely unacceptable. The only option with these organizations was to complete the form and wait to be contacted. I believe two of the five did respond the following week. However, by that time, we were fortunate enough to have found two other firms resulting from a subsequent search. The best part about one of them, a sole proprietor with her cell phone number on her website was a line next to her cell phone number – I DON'T TEXT. Kudos!
We did come to find she prefers to talk live, get to the source of the problem, and implement a solution as quickly as possible. If she is not available to answer she is very quick to respond to emails.
But seriously, no one is available 24/7 and there are times when answering a call may be less than convenient. I believe it is unrealistic and unacceptable, particularly in business, to make it impossible for anyone to reach an office, a general email, voicemail, or an automated switchboard, at the very least, directly.
There are efficient ways to go about business and unprofessional impersonal ways also.
Email and text at times are fine, but sometimes one 5-minute conversation will resolve more than multiple emails, contact us forms, and text. Maybe it’s time every business looks closely at their means of communication.