Monday, 21 February 2011

Has email ended the need for people to communicate?!!!

Now, anyone that has just read my previously loaded up blog, will see that another problem with emails and computers is that sometimes your fingers can be quicker than your brain, and you send things off without meaning to!   As was the case previously!   So... below is the corrected blog for the day!

I was telling a friend of mine this morning about the first day that a previous young receptionist came to work for us - this was a long time ago, when we needed to have a receptionist! I had been out more or less the whole time, and when I got in in the evening she had a shell-shocked look on her face as she had had 56 telephone calls for me, all of which had been neatly logged and detailed.  I said that she had done very well and shouldn't look so worried, to which she responded that she was fine, she was just concerned how I would ever respond to all of these calls!

Of course I did manage to return most of the calls, even though, generally, I don't really like the phone.  But in those days, the phone was our main method of communication, and even though it could sometimes take a while to get hold of someone, once you did, you could crack pretty much everything in one call.   What has happened now, with emails replacing the need to pick up the phone and talk?  Has communication, as we knew it, just come to a standstill?

My friend responded that nowadays she could quite easily work one week on and one week off.  One week of sending various things to her boss and the following week at home, while she waited for him to get around to responding to her!   Oh.. how that rang a bell with me!!!   How many times have we gone completely nuts waiting for a client to respond to something that we have prepared 'because it is urgent' and then not had any form of response for days (and then, when the response comes, we have to move at huge speed, again, because the deadline is near!)?  

In our office, I ask that everyone answer every email that they receive during the course of the same day; even if it is just to say 'we don't know, but will come back to you tomorrow'.  And then we DO come back tomorrow.  How much business is being lost through people firing off emails and then having to chase them a million times to get an answer?   How much time is being wasted by someone having to send email after an email to the same person, just to get an answer?  And how many ideas are being missed by everyone sending each other emails (even in an office where people sit directly opposite each other) when a quick discussion might just throw up something interesting.

I am considering having email free days in our office, and forcing everyone to get on the phone and sort things out... and I suspect they will save a lot of time in the meantime.   Of course, I am not really serious... but it might be a good test.  

I wonder what other old timers think?  Any comments on this will be gratefully received.  On the phone!


1 comment:

  1. I think that any company that replaces telephone completely with email is making a big mistake as they will suffer the misery of waiting for a response to an email.

    I still believe email is the most beneficial for a variety of reasons - having a record of your interactions, creating tasks with deadlines based on emails, scheduling meetings, communicating things that might be difficult via phone. I usually follow up important emails with a call to let them know it's sent or a couple days later to ask if they've had a chance to look it at. Just because you already emailed a person doesn't mean you can't call them too!

    Those who are most use to email are checking it constantly on their phone anyway, and may find phone calls alone intrusive. I have quite a few friends who never answer their phone unless it's a number they know. The reason? "If it's important they'll leave a message / send a text / email me"