Until recently, calling was the most common method of contacting each other. No matter if that was a work or private related subject, calling was fast, relatively cheap and convenient. Especially in the past decades when mobile phones started to be a widely used and affordable, phones were the number one communication tool.
Written by Natalia Raben
Soon enough, there came the internet. At first, it was either a luxurious business tool or it was available only to the richest who could afford a computer. Nevertheless, people started to email, and some phone calls were replaced by this electronic correspondence. However, emails were a substitute of letters really and not phone calls. What about SMS?
Between emails and calls, there was (and still is!) an option to send text messages. However, these were only good when someone wanted to send a short news or a question. Why? A minute of call was around the same cost of one SMS. Since during one min of talking more information could be shared than in one text, the decision was obvious.
Moreover, texts weren’t professional. Nobody would dare to send a text to a boss unless the company culture was very informal. Finally, the internet started to be widely accessible and changed everything.
The Rise of the Internet
At one point in the history of instant communication, everybody started to use Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Of course, one of the reasons for the success of these apps was the lack of any cost involved. However, real sympathy might have been gained thanks to the fact that there is no need for an instant reply.
People could think how and what they want to answer without being put on the spot. Moreover, such practice avoided being disturbed when being at work or the other way around–when spending time with family. In private life, people started to get used to ‘instant messaging without instant replying’ practice.
Since everyone learned and liked the fact that they are given time to think before having to reply, the habit got quickly mirrored from private onto professional life. However, this didn’t apply to every employer/employee. The older generation, naturally, wasn’t brought up with technology. Their style of work involves emails and phone calls which, until recently, was still absolutely normal among younger colleagues too.
Now with a younger generation starting to be in charge, professional communication is changing. These entrepreneurs are used to texting on WhatsApp and calling without prior notice seems to them like an intrusion of privacy. Between each other, they first ask if they are allowed to call and only once the colleague says yes, the phone call happens.
What’s More Efficient?
The reason for having time to think to come up with an answer and not being put on a spot has a very good explanation among young entrepreneurs. Let’s look at the problem with an example. A client calls a design agency with a question about her project. The contact person needs to moment to find out what project and details the client is talking about. Then, finding out the responsible designer who has the answer, is away today, he tells the client that he will call her back.
In order to answer the client’s question, the person needs to email/call the designer, call the client again and send follow up emails for written records. But what if the client’s question wasn’t answered properly and there’s more information needed?
Another scenario is client writing an email asking for a phone call appointment with the agency. On the agreed time, the client, the contact person and the designer hold a mini-conference with all files and project details reviewed beforehand to ease the conversational flow and avoid delaying the answer.
The older and the younger generation differ when it comes to communication. Older employers prefer to call unannounced simply because it’s normal for them–and there’s nothing wrong about it. Younger entrepreneurs choose to communicate through texts and instant messaging and call only when necessary. They do not have any strong negative feelings towards phone calls but they do find them disturbing their workflow. To reach a compromise, the two can schedule calls what provides a comfortable environment for both parties.
Natalia Raben is an international business student taking care of marketing @DesignBro. Lover of design, photography and the arts.