Communication Break Down: When to Write and When to Ring
How many times have you been the victim of an endless email chain with a client?Or typed a sentence and deleted it, retyping and deleting yet again… Could things have been solved with a simple phone call?
Truly WOW-worthy customer experiences anticipate your clients’ needs and give them what they don’t even know they want. You may automatically hit “reply” when a client emails you, but a phone call can sometimes be more effective. When should you pick up the phone?
Start dialing when…
You need to say “no.” When giving a negative response, it’s important to be tactful and respectful, and a friendly phone call will let them down easy. Even if you can’t give them what they asked for, a conversation gives you an
opportunity to offer suggestions and alternatives.
Your client is upset, or may become upset. A telephone call can be a powerful expression of care and concern, and showing you care is especially important when strong emotions are involved.
It’s complicated. Even the most carefully-crafted message can be misconstrued without the help of a friendly voice. If you’re having a difficult time explaining something or think your answer will spur more questions, pick up the phone. You’ll both avoid the confusion of a long email chain.
However, emails can also be a useful tool for fulfilling unexpressed needs.
You’re relaying contact information. Numbers and proper spelling can be tricky to get right over the phone; some letters sound similar and if a phone number is one number off, it’s useless. Writing out addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and directions will be more accurate, and your client can save your email to reference in the future.
You need a definitive record. When you need to have a verbatim account of the discussion, a written record is best.
You’d like an extra touch of WOW. Send a follow-up email after your phone call to reiterate information, provide additional resources, or simply thank them for speaking with you.
And of course, if you feel like calling, call! A personal phone call is a great way to connect in a meaningful way and inspire trust, the backbone of every attorney-client relationship.