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Businesses Call, But People Text!

89% of all consumers suggest they prefer to communicate with a business via messaging. Currently, only 48% of businesses are equipped to do so and this is a shocking misalignment.

Those with the ability to do so are, in the majority, consumer retailers and other business to consumer markets are being left behind.

Millennials are perhaps the current dominant generation in the workplace, but the generation Y workforce is fast on their heels. Both generations have grown up (or in part) in an age where computers (and all that has followed) are mainstream both in their working and personal lives.

Remember that when talking about ‘millennial’ or ‘Generation Y’ communication preferences, we’re really talking about the future of workplace communication overall, and whether you like it or not, you’ll need to prepare for those changes. So how do these millions of millennials or Generation Y’s prefer to communicate?

Aversion to Phone Calls

Anecdotal evidence should tell you that they hate talking on the phone. It’s already having an effect on society and O2 recently produced a study showing that using your phone to make actual phone calls, was only the fifth most popular application. It won’t surprise you that ‘messaging’ was number one!

Phones aren’t used to make phone calls anymore, but why is this the case? It could be one or more of several reasons. These generations grew up with the gradual introduction of instant messaging, texting, email, and other forms of written communication. Because they are just as instantaneous but provide you with the ability to think over your words, they’re more comfortable and precise forms of communicating with each other. For a group of people dubbed “the anxious generations,” this is of the utmost importance. It could also be that phone calls require a kind of interruption to someone’s day, while messages can be opened and read at the recipient’s leisure or during “down-time”.

Text Messages

Text messages do have several advantages, which is probably why 68% of all millennials admit to texting “a lot” on a daily basis and a recent report suggested those in generation Y would rather give up phone calls, coffee and even sex before sacrificing the ability to send texts! Texts are instant and mobile, which means they can be read and exchanged at almost any time. They can also be thought out and edited, rather than used as reactions, like in phone calls or in-person conversations. Receiving a text is also proven to release endorphins giving the recipient a feel-good factor of being needed or wanted.

Top 3 methods when communicating with family are;

  • Native SMS 34%
  • Whatsapp 31%
  • Facebook Messenger 20%

However, when communicating with a business native SMS ranks even higher;

Top 3 methods when communicating with a business are;

  • Native SMS 47%
  • Facebook Messenger 21%
  • Whatsapp 18%

OVUM surveyed 1,000 internet users, evenly split between Germany and the US. Nearly half (44%) of respondents said that one of the reasons they preferred to send a text to a business was because it was less time-consuming. In addition, 42% said they preferred to do so because it was more convenient than using the telephone.

Nearly a third said that sending a text was less frustrating than calling the company. More than a quarter of respondents said it enabled them to ask the company to text or call them back, and mobile phones remain the primary messaging device worldwide.

Informal Communication

These generations are also making conversations and workplaces less formal. They are pushing for more flexible hours, more casual environments, relaxed dress codes, and informal communication. This means all forms of communication have friendlier, more familiar tones, and casual forms of exchange (like emojis) are also becoming more popular.

Summary

What can you take from this information and apply to your own line of business?

  • Adjust to new standards. These communication trends are the direction of the dominant generations in the workplace. Moving even closer to a paperless communication world is almost certain so it’s better to learn how to use them now rather than to try and resist their takeover.
  • Be aware of the advantages and disadvantages. There are still many options available to you, so it pays to know the advantages and disadvantages of each. For example, phone calls may not be popular, but they do have the advantage of creating a dialogue which messages can’t do as effectively. Know-how and when to use them and consider amalgamating, such as using outbound messaging to drive inbound calls or interactive digital engagement. Digital engagement can frequently be the best method to encourage a person to speak to you, it’s a fabulous “warm-up” solution.
  • Communicate along generational lines. Remember that these 2 generations are the majority of our workforce. Adjust your communication style to suit and remember that Generation Y is on the cusp of being the dominating workplace generation.

Finally, the fundamentals of good communication don’t change between generations. Listening, remaining concise, and including all the important details are as important as they have ever been. The difference now is the modes of communication we choose to apply to those fundamentals and to choose the correct model that will have the most appeal to the person or generation you are in contact with.