Phone vs. Email

In the business world, there are phone people, and there are email people. I'll admit right upfront that I'm an email person. There are situations when phone or face-to-face meetings are necessary or more appropriate, but for most day to day issues, I think email is great.

Consider this scenario: I send an email checking on the status of something. The other person gets the email, and realizes they need to ask me something that basically requires a yes or no answer.

Instead of emailing, they phone me. Naturally, I miss the call and they leave me a long message re-explaining the entire situation, asking me the question, and leaving their contact information and the times they can be reached.

I have to log into my voicemail, retrieve the message, listen to it (possibly more than once) and take down the contact info. Then I call them back -- and, you guessed it -- they're not available. By the time I finally get them tracked down and give them their answer, I've probably spent a good 10-15 minutes intermixed with other tasks. That's not that long, you say. Perhaps not on its own, but that's not the only issue I have to deal with in a day.

Let's be very conservative and say that I only have 10 such issues per day:

  • Email: 1-2 minutes to reply x 10 incidents = 10-20 minutes per day

  • Phone: 10-15 minutes to reply x 10 incidents = 1.5-3 hours per day

So with email, I can be about 900% more efficient. Is this a no-brainer, or am I missing something here?


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