I am always surprised when I see people attempting to manage complex B2B service relationships through email. When working in industries like software development or management consulting, it is very important to have regular live interactions with your clients. Even amongst my 60 employees I sometimes see the perspective; that all or most client communications can be conducted through email or chat. This is simply a very dangerous way to manage a relationship if your intention is to hold onto your customers. There are three key reasons why live conversations are valuable and critical to maintaining healthy relationships.
1) Live dialogue is a richer, more robust form of communication than written. There are many limitations to the ‘type-written’ word. Some people are more skilled at writing. They may be able to better articulate their points of views in more clear and concise ways. Others may simply have weaker key-boarding skills. They may not be in a position to fully explain their position or request. A single email can often turn into multiple threads, which often prolongs what should be a brief interaction. These differences in writing and typing skills can easily lead to varying levels of miscommunications, ultimately putting projects and relationships at risk. And, these issues will simply frustrate your clients.
2) Live verbal communications have the benefit of visual and audible communication cues and clues.
As humans, we all tend to comprehend messaging quicker and clearer when it is accompanied by body language, facial micro-expressions, tone, inflection, volume, cadence etc. These are all rich communication qualities missing from written messages. And these all lead to better and faster understanding between all parties involved.
3) Finally, visual or even simple audible communications more easily and more quickly enrich and deepen existing human relationships. And forging a deeper relationship will improve your company’s level of customer intimacy. As humans, we communicate best when a higher number of our senses are engaged, especially our visual and auditory senses.
Sometimes I am called ‘old-school’ when I mention to some members of our staff that we need to get on the phone with a client, but I don’t mind being called ‘old-school’ as long as I continue to have clients to serve!