Loyalty Leader Quick Tips

Put Down the Mouse and Pick Up the Phone

November 14, 2012

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Email is a great communication tool, right? Wrong! Email is doing more damage to customer and co-worker relationships than any form of communication. The quality of customer service is on the decline because employees are avoiding face-to-face and even phone conversations. They’re hiding behind email.Email is also lowering productivity in the workplace. The more email you send, the more you get. Managers at one company in Liverpool, England, estimate that its 6,000 employees send each other 40,000 messages a day. Employees everywhere are reporting that they are spending two hours per day dealing with email. Typically, you can accomplish more during a one-minute phone call then you can in sending multiple emails. Conversations give you the opportunity to clarify and build rapport. So, whenever possible, put down your mouse and pick up the phone. There are often negative consequences when employees send email instead of talking to one another or their customers.

  • There is increased gossip and mistrust.
  • Issues are not addressed and resolved quickly.
  • Silos are formed creating an “us vs. them” work environment.
  • Co-worker empathy decreases because employees are simply not getting to know each other.
  • Customers are frustrated because they are unable to actually voice their needs or concerns.
  • Email is perceived as being cold and impersonal. Face-to-face or phone conversations convey a warmer, friendlier tone.
  • There are frequent misinterpretatons of messages and misunderstandings of intent. 

Business leaders all over the world are concerned about email over-use and abuse and are taking a stand. “Never on Friday” is becoming a common theme where all internal email is banned every Friday. Ironically, one executive sent an email to employees announcing the Friday email ban. He said he looked forward to not hearing from his employees via email but encouraged them to stop by often. You can establish your own “no email” policy one day a week and invite your co-workers to participate.

  • Meet with your co-workers face-to-face.
  • If your customers request email communication, you can still call them to confirm that their information has been sent. Even a voicemail message will help to build a stronger customer relationship. For example: “Per your request I have emailed the information about your order. Please let me know if you have any questions or need additional information.”
  • Pick up the phone and call someone–a customer,co-worker or vendor.
  • Get up and walk to another department to chat with employees.
  • In sales? Get out in the field and meet with your customers. You will set yourself apart from your competitors.

You can even take the idea a step farther by introducing other “no technology” days, such as no cell phones on Monday, no PDAs on Tuesday, no web surfing on Wednesdays, and no memos on Thursday. Imagine! People might actually start talking to one another again!  

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