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Communications

Even Telecom Workers Don't Want To Talk On the Phone (fastcompany.com) 48

An anonymous reader shares a report: Of the 1,000 Americans surveyed by Fundera, more than half said they prefer email, even though an often overflowing inbox has been proven to hinder productivity. Other methods of communicating paled in comparison. For instance, face-to-face conversations came in a distant second, preferred by only 15.8% of respondents, while phone calls came in at the bottom across 17 different industries. Even telecom workers don't want to talk on the phone: 70% would prefer to use instant messages or email.

Even Telecom Workers Don't Want To Talk On the Phone

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    To Whom It May Concern,

    Put it in writing. Don't call us, we'll call you.

    Sincerely,
    Corporate Headquarters

  • Yeah so? (Score:4, Funny)

    by yokem_55 ( 575428 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @04:14PM (#54663901)

    If we answer the phone then we have to do things like help our customers and solve problems. If you don't answer the phone, eventually people stop calling....

    • My thoughts exactly, just because an overflowing in-box hinders productivity... who cares about that? An overflowing in-box in much less annoying than a constantly ringing phone.

    • Re:Yeah so? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @04:44PM (#54664091)

      If we answer the phone then we have to do things like help our customers and solve problems.

      Phone calls are a poor medium for "solving problems". An emailed inquiry with specific information, maybe including a screenshot, is far superior. Then I can send a reply with specific instructions, a photo of the solution, and links for more information. When I hire tech-support people, they almost always ask if they will have to do phone support, and if they are good, I will hire them anyway. So the dreg employees staff the phones, where they recite the manual to idiots too lazy to read it for themselves.

      There are some good tech support phone calls, such as this: "I have a critical problem, and just emailed you a detailed description. Please read it and respond ASAP!". But other than that, I don't think so.

      • In my experience, email, sky and phonecalls have their uses.

        Email is for something that can wait - when I have the time I will read the email. Also, it is only good if the conversation is short (not many replies) and slow.
        Phonecalls, for me, are good for urgent matters ("Hi, internet connection for client X is not working, I tried connecting my own PC, checked the wiring, I get an IP, but no internet access"), especially if realtime conversation is needed ("OK, try it now").

        I would hate doing the realtime u

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Email can be sorted over time, hours, days.
        A call has to start been taken seriously as management might actually monitor calls and in some parts of the world listen in.
        Real time feed back on how skilled staff are working with consumers and how the brand is been looked after.

        That "photo" and "links" sent back and around networks a few times between a stranger and a worker might also be a security risk.
        A phone and spoken account details might just help an issue for one person.
        The ability to recit
    • by chihowa ( 366380 )

      I just finished working through a huge problem* with my university's IT email team. Every time I sent them an email, they followed up by calling me on the phone. Didn't inspire confidence in their email system.

  • by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @04:19PM (#54663941)
    A majority (76%) of ER doctors admitted that they did not want to need to use the ER, and 63% of morticians said they did not want to have to make use of their own services personally. And only 14% of Slashdot editors admitted that they felt they needed to use an editor before accepting a submission.
  • by OffTheLip ( 636691 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @04:21PM (#54663953)
    Receive email from your boss was much better than a phone call. Gave you time to work on an approach to what was being asked. Read receipt off of course.
  • So people responded that they prefer to communicate in the inverse order of effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Crafting Answers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bigbutt ( 65939 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @04:24PM (#54663983) Homepage Journal

    Email is a benefit for me. It lets me read the email, check my data, craft an answer, and have a paper trail of the task. I also know what is needed and can refer to the email should there be a dispute.

    Phone: "Hey, I need you to blah blah blah"

    Me: "Okay, send me an email with the details and I'll get on it."

    [John]

    • by Calydor ( 739835 )

      And on the other end, it gives the guy reading your answer the ability to check back an hour later to see the exact same details, rather than relying on his recollection of a phone call that happened while he was playing Solitaire on the computer and getting blown by his secretary.

    • There IS a place for email when it comes to.. "Just get to the point!"... But it's not for conversations that morph into new ideas. Or have more than one direction depending upon the previous answer and need to be done in real time.
  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @04:29PM (#54664011) Homepage
    The majority of my coworkers communicate via Microsoft Lync (IM) with a headset. I got a coworker who uses the phone because he doesn't want to leave a paper trail that could make him look bad. He gets mad at me because I document everything out of habit. What he says over the phone doesn't always match what he writes in the ticket log. I've put him on my "trust but verify" list of coworkers.
    • That's a good approach for every job AFAIK. I keep a written paper log book of what I'm asked to do by who and when, and what I did about it. People see that on my desk and it seems to send the correct message of "you won't be able to pin your mistakes on me!"

  • by SoftwareArtist ( 1472499 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @04:32PM (#54664033)

    If someone emails me, I can deal with it whenever it's convenient for me. If they phone me, I'm supposed to deal with it right that moment, no matter what I was in the middle of when they interrupted me. Or I can let it go to voicemail, but that's way less convenient to check than email.

    • Depends on your line of business, really. Most of what I do requires fairly immediate response, and a phone call allows a back-and-forth to deal with things quickly. If someone starts a stream of texts with thirty seconds delay between each, the same problem takes a lot longer to solve and generates a lot more interruption.
  • Phone calls are good if you need an immediate response. Very few things need an immediate response. 911 is about the only thing I can think of. Maybe some big-shot corporate decisions as well. Occasionally you do get a situation where your work is stalled until you get an answer from someone else - those warrant a phone call.

    For the vast majority of other situations, a slightly delayed but more accurate response is preferable. If your boss calls you asking for the exact component numbers of last yea
    • by Calydor ( 739835 )

      Or 3), the people who consider the keyboard their mortal enemy, and to whom your post seems as long as War and Peace. They exist, quite sadly, and would gladly see the world degenerate to the dark ages if it meant they never had to worry about the written word again.

    • Occasionally you do get a situation where your work is stalled until you get an answer from someone else - those warrant a phone call.

      This happens to me a lot. Or rather I am on the receiving end of the phonecalls. Let's say internet conenction stopped working for some client of an ISP. The lower level worker went there, checked the cables etc and found no problems. He has to call me to check the system and would not want to wait an hour until I checked my email (at least if I or my co-worker cannot help him right away, he knows that and can go to another client at the time).

      Or some important server goes down.

      I would rather receive a phon

      • That would be great if people understood what "urgent" means. 90% of them think it's a synonym of "important". It's not.

    • Or, umm, they aren't very good at DAVE, DID YOU SEE BILL ABOUT THE FLAIR? organising their ummm things in their head I forget the name right now and collecting the umm data needed to THANKS, GET ME A BLT AND A COKE - NOT DIET you want to know the model number? How would I know that?

  • I don't mind the phone if I need a complicated real-time conversation. The thing is, I usually don't. Sometimes I need something in writing, not just to check on the other person, but also to be sure I remember correctly what he said. And I usually don't need real-time. If I get 6 emails, I can merge that into my workflow without disrupting everything. 6 phone calls? Arrggghhhh!!!!!

    • When somebody needs something urgently (say, a production server went down) outside office hours, they have to call me (or my co-worker), because I will not check work email when not working. I may not even be at home (in which case I will try to get internet access or call a co-worker who is hopefully closer to a PC than I am).

      I had a conversation once with a client who had a habit of notifying about urgent problems over skype (during office hours). That worked relatively OK, until one day I was away from

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Talking on the phone is frankly awful. I think that the only reason why it was more popular in the past was due to the lack of alternatives.
    When someone calls you, they're operating under the unspoken assumption that whatever they've called about is more important than what you're doing now. It's essentially the same as someone walking up to you and pestering you about something while you either need or want to do, but with the added benefit of making an awful ringing sound.
    Most people instinctively know

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you call me at work, you are going to ask something that takes me at least 15 minutes to find out. And you will not have the attention capacity to take in the answer that will take half an hour to explain.

    Just f***ing send an email and receive an essay answering all your questions, including those you didn't know to ask.
    Or call and get a wild guess because I can't possibly remember every minute detail about a dozen projects.

  • by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @05:29PM (#54664335)

    Why is customer support still mainly done over the phone? Why not do it over instant messenger or text?

    Old people need to hear a voice ?

  • You do realize that "Telecom" is short for "Telecommunications", not for "Telephone" right? It simply means communicating over long distances, it doesn't mean only by telephone. "Telecom" companies these days are more about internet than about phone.

    Why would you expect people who work primarily in the field of keeping the internet running (Telecom workers) to prefer to use telephones more than the general public does?

    What a ridiculous spin on the title/summary!

  • ... due to my disabilities where I can't hear and talk well. I get annoyed when they want me to talk and hear!!

  • This might make me sound like an old fogey, but I wonder if this has to do with call quality and user experience.

    I grew up with landlines. I remember cellphones coming into prominence and I remember how annoying it was to talk on them. The calls would get dropped, the audio quality was bad, and worst of all, the latency was terrible.

    Over time networks seem to have become more reliable, and the audio quality has gotten better, but all cell calls still seem to have a latency issue. This makes them feel dis

  • ... that I'm available RIGHT NOW to deal with your issue. That's usually not the case. You can leave voicemail, I can formulate an answer and call you back. I might get your voicemail and we end up playing phone tag. E-mail (and other text messaging) pretty much implement this communication style.

    The people that don't like the above methods of exchanging messages tend to be control freaks. They get you on the phone and command your attention in real time and at their convenience. Voicemail (or e-mail) ten

  • even though an often overflowing inbox has been proven to hinder productivity.

    Citation needed

  • In my experience, I find the only effective way of solving any problem I have with a Telecoms company is to write a strongly-worded factual account of previous support failures and snail-mail it to the CEO.

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