The proposition that phone calls (especially from desk phones) are no longer a preferred means of communication in the business world is not a new one. As communication options and technology evolve it’s natural to question the usefulness of more traditional modes of communication.
This morning I read an Inc.com article titled, “5 Reasons Millennials Aren’t Answering Your Phone Call,” by Ryan Jenkins. The article points out all the ways in which phone calls are bothersome to the millennial generation, and suggests older generations send text messages instead.
While I agree that phone calls can sometimes be distracting, time consuming, and superfluous, I think of them in the same way I think of listening to a podcast vs reading an article. Sure, a lot of people like reading articles (which I’m comparing to texting, in this case), but they usually require your full attention. Wouldn’t it be much less distracting, time consuming, and superfluous to listen to a podcast instead? It frees your eyes to wander (like a phone call); you can listen while you drive (like a phone call) and you don’t have to guess the tone of the content (much like…a phone call!).
My point is that there is a time and a place for each mode of communication. As bothersome as it may be to some millennials, there are some situations in which anyone, at any age, should use the phone and most likely prefer using the phone over written communication (texting, IM, email), such as: a time-sensitive conference call, a job interview, a customer service interaction, or any emergency situation. Circumstances in which texting, instant messaging, or email are preferred might include: reminders to coworkers, communicating outside normal business hours, or reporting an incident, just to mention a few.
Today, there are four generations in the workplace, each of which grew up with the tendency to use some technologies over others. Being able to recognize which situation is appropriate for which method of communication is a skill that must be acquired. One way for businesses to acknowledge and appease the diversity among employees and customers is to integrate all of the available communication services (voice, chat, IM, presence, mobility, web and video) via one unified platform. That’s one of the many advantages of a Unified Communications (UC) solution. As mentioned earlier, certain situations call for certain ways of communicating, so why limit your options or your productivity potential? Give your business the advantage of communications by upgrading to UC.