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Talking on the Internet

In business gone are the days of constant telephone contact with your vendors and clients. With the advent of the internet has come lots of new ways to communicate. In some ways it’s better and in some ways it makes doing business much less personal. These days a quick email replaces a telephone exchange most of the time and e-mail has even replaced formal written correspondence sent by regular mail to a great extent.

In business gone are the days of constant telephone contact with your vendors and clients. With the advent of the internet has come lots of new ways to communicate. In some ways it’s better and in some ways it makes doing business much less personal. These days a quick email replaces a telephone exchange most of the time and e-mail has even replaced formal written correspondence sent by regular mail to a great extent.

In the old days it might go something like this.

Dial… dial… ring… ring…

“Good morning! JEG Design may I help you?” With a person answering the telephone instantly there is a connection with that friendly voice on the other end. Pleasantries would typically be exchanged before “talking business.” A business relationship can quickly develop and with each successive telephone contact you can get to know your client (or vendor) a little better. Managing my own business has taught me to treat my clients with respect and I happy to say that my “do unto others” philosophy has helped me to build a strong and loyal client base.

Nowadays telephone contact has become rarer and goes something like this.

Dial… dial… ring… ring…

A computerized voice answers, “You’ve reached Blah… Blah Company. If you know your parties extension dial it now… for service dial 1… for repair press 2… for the patience of a saint press 3… to speak with a human being… forget about it.” No relationship is forged and once you finally do reach your contact it feels like a marathon has been run.

More often these days email communication is replacing that frequent personal contact between you and your client. The net result is that we hardly know one another. E-mail communication can be particularly problematic since voice inflection and facial expression are absent and communication is delayed as one party writes and the other responds with lots of waiting in between.

Much misinterpretation can come from an e-mail exchange and if you’re foolish enough to use ALL CAPS your recipient will think you are yelling. Of course, you can always use a smiley face or a frown face to help in expressing your mood but in the world of business I tend to think smiley faces are best left out.

I suppose a blend of different communication methods is the best approach. A quick and convenient e-mail might be followed up with a telephone contact. Yes, I believe a blend of the old and the new can help to build strong client relationships, which are the foundation of any successful business.

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