Yesterday afternoon, while I was on the phone with a customer, a co-worker took a message for me. The person he was talking to didn’t leave a name for me to call him back, he simply said he needed to “have a conversation” with me, and would send me an email or call me back later. Maybe it’s my fear of people, stemming from the idea that at any moment 80% of you could become mindless, flesh-eating, undead monsters, but the moment I heard that he needed to have a conversation, my mind automatically assumed I had done something wrong or offensive and this guy was calling to ream my ass, verbally, at least.
When did the idea of talking to someone become frightening?
I’m an email guy. I even utilize twitter and facebook. Hell, if you need me in a hurry, why not text or IM me. These are great forms of communication that allow you to think about your words carefully and double check to make sure you aren’t coming across as a giant douche. In the business world, it seems to me that the most professional way to communicate would be through one of the dozens of forms of text based communication. The only reason you ever have to call and talk to someone on the phone is if you want to emphasize certain words, or to put it simply: The only reason to talk on a phone is if you want to convey emotion easily.
Letters = Happy, Words = OH NOES!
Most of my co-workers were born in a time when information was closely guarded and the only form of communication was grunting and smashing rocks together, so anytime there is a customer that prefers to do things in the 21st Century, they are passed over to me. That leaves me handling about 99% of my business through email. In my private life, I either speak to someone face to face, or talk to them through text messages, Twitter, and Facebook. I’ve might have even been known to tweet conversations with someone in the same room as myself on occasion. Any form of pleasant conversation I engage in is either in person or via words. The only exception to this is my parents, and only because they are REALLY slow at texting.
The only phone calls I get are thus telemarketers or angry customers. You see, customers who usually email will call when they are angry because they want to convey that they are, in fact, very pissed off. In the past, other phone calls would include the horribly embarrassing calls from bill collectors saying things like, “Pay us our money or we’ll hunt you down and take it from your hide.”
I’ve dealt with some fairly shady loan companies.
Of course these aren’t the only reasons to call someone on the phone. There is also drunk dialing, publicly fighting, and admitting that you ate the last of the burritos. None of these are happy things.