The telephone is a powerful tool. A telephone gives us the power to instantly connect with anyone, anywhere and share together with depth and engagement in contrast to new messaging platforms.
Is it still the same for business?
The telephone used to be the main tool to ‘cold-call’ a prospect in the initial sales engagement. The traditional cold call has become so universally loathed that it has become almost extinct. Walk into a typical sales department and instead of hearing salespeople dialing prospects and enthusiastically pitching you are met by silence as salespeople, turned into marketers, use LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram and decreasing SMS to try to engage and warm prospects to the point where business can be done via email.
The idea of taking a call anywhere, anytime has become an intrusion into our personal space that is often unwelcome. Also, for recent generations who are multi-taskers the idea of dedicating our attention fully to one thing is increasing difficult. ‘Chatting’ used to mean actually having an interactive conversation but now it means responding, in our own time, to brief messages on multiple platforms.
Very often there is no direct connection with the customer at all. Every prospect and client touchpoint are now often made via social media and messaging platform.
The telephone, certainly the landline, sitting on a desk has become a clear disadvantage in business because the ringing telephone is simply ignored.
So, what the future for business engagement?
Well, the future is already here. Instagram, LinkedIn and many other platforms are used to pitch. Brands use influencers who, by the force of personality, have built up huge fanbases to communicate directly with consumers, and brands use the influencers to pitch instead. Then, the brands simply use an online portal to provide deeper product information and facilitate the purchase.
As I write this, there is a postal strike in the U.K. and the question I had was, ‘does it matter?’ What of significance comes through our letter boxes anymore?
The same is true for the telephone.
Technology has meant that sales processes are being created today that have no place for the telephone. Many business websites don’t even list phone numbers. Almost nobody uses voice messaging anymore. I have friends who I have never spoken to on the telephone only via messaging and then meeting face to face.
The disadvantage to using the telephone today? Increasing, there is no one on the other end who wants to, or will, pick-up.
Have we lost something? Perhaps.