This is an out of the ordinary post, firstly as it features a guest author, Peter Abraham and secondly it is not really about marketing.
We have both been wondering about communication etiquette. We both use email, social and the phone to communicate like most of us.
So here are our thoughts on channels and peoples response, or lack of to communication.
Ben’s channel thoughts –
it is about the type of channel by person
I tend to ring and email people, sometimes to people’s frustration. Email tends to be for sending messages and attachments and phone calls for catching up which might include SMS/Whatsapp.
Occasionally I use twitter direct messaging and linkedin is more of a response channel. I have just started using Slack too for team chat.
What happens next is always interesting. For the avid networkers I get a call back. Sometimes this might take a week but I nearly always get a call back.
From others it is hit and miss. Sometimes they are connected and respond and other times there is nothing.
Email varies by person. Some always respond and others you never hear anything.
The one thing I have noticed is the number of people who don’t respond is a lot more than those who respond, with the number of responders shrinking.
I would have thought the simplicity of communication would have made it easier for people to respond. However it feels like it has become more and more complicated to choose which is the best channel to engage people. It is not that it is physically more difficult to respond but knowing which channel is best for which individual.
The channels I use are:
Recapping how I use them:
- Email – sending of attachments
- Whatsapp – catching up with friends abroad and sending images
- SMS – meeting up with people and catching up
- Phone – chatting to people who prefer the phone or having a more detailed conversation rather than have lots of emails
- Linkedin – the virtual address book where I can stay in touch with people who move job regularly, or respond to business opportunities
- Twitter – Responding to direct messages and a couple of direct messages to friends
- Slack – Team get together and sharing of information and content
- Instagram – Sharing of images and commenting
Peter’s channel thoughts –
it is about the importance of the message
For me it used to be simple…It was either about agreeing Directives or just Informing (or in larger organisations, corporates/agencies, it was for arse covering).
The communications hierarchy was something along these lines:
Vocal face to face meant it was urgent OR Phone if you couldn’t physically face to face the person(s). Speed for clarity of message, choose the fastest channel. Simple!
Urgent but non disruptive =
Text (sms) if it was urgent but you didn’t want to disturb your recipient immediately.
Not urgent at all =
Email, voicemail or postal mail (from the good old days). Follow up on what was agreed or required.
- Email – sending of detail responses and attachments
- Whatsapp – Social catching up with friends and sending images
- SMS – Social and business, short message (of course)
- Phone – Social and business, chatting to people who prefer the phone or having a more detailed conversation rather than have lots of emails
- Linkedin – Business, the virtual address book where I can stay in touch with people who move job regularly, or respond to business opportunities
- Twitter – Business, Responding to direct messages and a couple of direct messages to friends
- Facebook – Social and business, mixed medium, non urgent
- Slack – Idea sharing
- Instagram – Social – Sharing of images and commenting
Today shouldn’t be any different but there’s so many channels that people don’t always consider importance of speed and channels people use along with their own level of importance of the messages coming through. I’ve had important DMs on twitter which I might easily have missed since I consider social channels not urgent, as I don’t run my twitter account for customer service…but maybe i’m an old fart and behind the times?
Now the real dilemma is Slack/Whatsapp/etc…is that Informing? or Directive?
People have to know….right?
I know a corporate that implemented all channels until they figured out they didn’t need to have them all on and listening and cut back to the key ones, same for any business, choose a couple but know why and what for, and agree it with your contacts, internal or external.
- Call me i’ll answer (if I can), or leave me a voicemail message
- Text me i’ll respond (if I see it) pretty quick as less interruptive
- Email me…yeah i’ll respond at some point, it’s not urgent right?
- Slack/whatsapp me…whatever, i’ll get to it ; )
You don’t call…Basically you’ll get a response but it might not be immediately!
We both might be unusual, but we try to respond to everyone on all channels, but this is a real challenge.
We each have our own preferred channels, as I am sure others do, so working these out for others can be a bit of a minefield.
If we are struggling as individuals, imagine the challenge we have as marketers.
Some love email whilst others hate it and are more traditional phone people. Finally there are the texters who only want texts nothing else.