Since its invention, email has been a great tool for business communication, but emails can also harm us in many different ways. Today I wanna talk about one specific situation where emails should never be used.
One of my employees came over to me to get my opinion on how to handle a situation he was having with a client. He felt that the client wasn’t happy, and he was assuming a few reasons why this could be. In order to solves this issue he wrote up a long email with 4 to 5 pointers addressing each concern he thought the client had.
He printed out the email for me to review and asked me my opinion on it. As soon as I finished reading it, I tore the paper in to pieces and said “There is no need for this email, simply call him up and talk to him!”
Here is why I think emails are harmful in such situations:
- You are not even sure why the customer is not happy, with an email you will never find out.
- You are addressing a number of concerns, when in fact it is very possible that after addressing his first concern everything will be back on track.
- I know its 2013, but there is still no technology that incorporates a soft and friendly tone into emails. No matter how nice you try to be in an email it can sometimes still seem harsh to the reader.
- Even if you think you addressed everything, your client might still be left with some doubts after reading your email, or even worse than that, it might bring up new concerns. And there is very little chances he will share those feelings with you.
And here is why I think a phone conversation is ideal is such situations:
- When talking to someone directly, you can find out what’s really bothering them, and in many cases you will be shocked to find out that it’s something completely different from what you thought.
- When talking to someone, you can address that single concern that’s bothering them without having to bring up things that are just assumptions and there is no reason to mention them.
- Your tone can make all the difference, and this is only possible in a phone conversation.
- When you talk with someone, you can make sure that all his concerns are addressed, and at the end of the conversation you can make sure that you are both on the same page.
Now be brave, pick up that phone and get things back on track!
Once you had that conversation, and hopefully everything was resolved, then you can go ahead and send a nice email to recap what you spoke about.