When thinking about what I would write about for this issue, I thought I would explore an observation that has become increasingly apparent as of late. There is a really strong decline in making a phone call. Almost every booking you would ever need to make can be done online and this silent service tool has become the default mode of millennials. So, what does that mean for our businesses and how we communicate with our audiences? How does that affect the communication we have with our friends and families but also clients?
I totally admit I will go out of my way to make a booking without speaking to a person. In fact, if I can’t make an online appointment there is a huge chance I’ll just find somewhere or someone else who can take me online. There is something about needing to be “on” for a phone call. There is a new type of work mode I need to switch to for a phone call, a version of me that requires more effort than just sending an email.
So why is having a phone call such a big deal? Why have I been seeing articles and memes everywhere about ditching phone calls? Watching your phone ring only to respond with a text? Well… I think we have been spoilt by convenience and us introverts will take any given opportunity to hide behind an email, a message or an online form. That said though, I am ALL about the voice message. message? It’s the availability and practicality of a one-way conversation.
The audio message, which could be interpreted as a mini podcast or a long voicemail, allows you to send a message full of questions that can be replied to later or just a bunch of thoughts that are better expressed with tone and feeling. But the reason My new default communication in audio format is a voice message is all about the TIME.
There are times when the only thing I don’t have is time and a big chat is something that can blow out my day, it’s not that I don’t want to have a social catch up, it’s just that the time slips away and you don’t get it back. Sometimes, that call lands right when I’m in my flow and the distraction derails me from rolling out work in the most efficient fashion. I know, I know, I sound like a spoiled millennial and it’s probably true.
So, let me loop back to what I was saying about time. I need to maximise every minute that I am NOT in front of my computer. So, my time in the car is the IDEAL time to have chat, but if that can’t happen, I can click my phone into record mode in WhatsApp or hit the “Voice Memo” app and record my own little staff meeting. I can cover a whole bunch of different topics and send the file to my team. They can listen to the audio when it suits them because work flexibility is EVERYTHING to me and my team.
I want to create an environment that gives maximum flexibility. I think this flexibility is why my team thrive with our work culture. It allows them to be in work mode at the most convenient time.
What does this communication shift mean for our client experience? Think about it, how many of your millennial clients pick up the phone and call to make their appointment? Do they rebook/book online or slide into your DMS? Make your systems as easy as possible for these types of appointments.
I shared these thoughts with my friend Mia from The Secret Fox. She told me that the best way to reply to the DMs she receives in Messenger and Instagram is to leave a voice message. If someone is enquiring about a colour correction, a 30-second audio file tells them everything they need to know, and it’s delivered with a really positive tone of voice. Because we all know, when we are explaining to client why they can’t have what they want, tone is everything.
So, be prepared for your phone to ring a little less, and don’t worry, your inboxes will be flooded. Perhaps you will even be able to streamline your appointment process in a more succinct way. Find better ways to use your time, embrace the audio message and watch this space.
By Hayley Mears, HAIRBIZ Year 16 Issue 6