While performing some research for one of my clients, I found the following article by Kenneth Burke.
I thought the content was worthy of sharing because the telephone habits of our dental patients are changing.
The proliferation of mobile phones and the behaviours of our different generations have seen the response rate to our telephone calls change.
Understanding these changes help us update our patient management systems and ensure we are getting great results for our efforts.
The article by Kenneth Burke is titled 10 Reasons Millennials Aren’t Answering Your Phone Calls and reads as follows. (The original article can be viewed here.)
Communication is a wonderful thing! As some forms of communication continue growing, like texting and Snapchat, it’s inevitable that other forms of communication, like phone calls, will dwindle.
It’s a trend that’s all too apparent among Millennials, and one that affects how businesses and organizations will need to approach their audiences. But what’s happening? Why aren’t Millennials answering your phone calls?
Millennials – those roughly 20-40y.o. – are mobile, productivity-driven, commanding of their time, and make up the majority of today’s workforce. Since answering phone calls doesn’t line up with these traits, it’s become the most diminishing form of communication.
Here are some of the more common reasons why Millennials aren’t answering your phone calls.
1. Phone Calls Are Disruptive
At no point in your day is taking a phone call not disruptive to whatever else you’re working on. Phone calls are distracting, disruptive, and completely throw off your groove.
If you take a call while you’re in the middle of a project, it could take you another 20+ minutes to regain focus after the call. Nobody wants that!
2. Phone Calls Are Presumptuous
When someone calls you, they’re assuming at least two things:
- Their needs are more important than your needs
- You have the time and don’t mind being interrupted
On many occasions one or both of these presumptions might be true. But more often than not, the caller comes off as being selfish – even a little insulting – to the person being called.
If it’s so important, just shoot a text to set up a call. Texts are virtually guaranteed to be read within a few minutes, and they create a lot more flexibility for everyone.
3. Phone Calls Are Time Consuming
Do you know how much time people spend on pleasantries and howdy-do’s everyday? The average person spends over 8 minutes a day just talking about the weather. The weather!
Add in what the kids have been up to, what that sports team did, what you’re going to be doing this weekend, or whatever else, and you’ve just spent ten minutes talking about nothing.
Millennial’s don’t want to answer your phone calls, because there’s no telling if doing so will take ten seconds, twenty minutes, or longer. Remember, Millennial’s value their time.
4. Phone Calls Are Inefficient
Think about social media, about texting, even emails. You tell people what you think/need/want, or you give an update. That’s it. If there’s any follow up that needs to happen, it will be handled accordingly.
All of these messages take less than a minute to compose and send off. Phone calls, on the other hand, will nearly always take at least several minutes. Why spend several minutes on something when you can do it in a few seconds?
5. Phone Calls Are Annoying
How many times have you seen someone calling you and gone “Ugh” or “Who is this?” If we’re being honest, phone calls are annoying!
Partially because Millennials don’t want to physically talk to people, because calling someone is so presumptuous, and because we all still receive way too many calls, the initial reaction to a call will almost always be negative.
6. Phone Calls Are Stressful
One call isn’t a big deal, but the shear number phone calls a lot of people get every day is enough to drown someone! Particularly if you work in a secretarial, assistant, or customer service position, phone calls can be a large stressor day-to-day.
When your job is to never miss a call, it’s incredibly stressful every time that phone rings – at work or at home. You have no control over your day, or your life for that matter.
These calls only bring in more things for you to do, and over time create a natural aversion response. People would rather text or email because they can do it entirely on their own time, and remove that mountain of stress in the process.
7. Phone Calls Are Superfluous
You call someone to communicate quickly, right? There are literally hundreds of other ways and apps through which you can communicate quickly – and do it faster. How many ways do we need to do the same thing?
Other than being able to say more than is needed, there aren’t many advantages to phone calls. Admittedly, vocal tone and inflection can be a big help in some cases.
8. Phone Calls Aren’t Private
How many times have you been on a call and had to either whisper, move to a different room, or ask the person to hang up and text you because you didn’t want anyone listening to your conversation?
Nobody enjoys that kind of anxiety, of feeling like someone who shouldn’t be involved is listening to every word you say. Because of this, many Millennial’s will ignore phone calls and simply reply through text.
9. Phone Calls Aren’t Personal
If you want to reach your friends, you text. To schedule a meeting with an acquaintance, you email. If you’re a salesman trying to hit his numbers, you call.
Phone calls aren’t personal. And in this age of business automation and digital savvy, people are looking for that personal touch. That’s why 33% of all mobile phone usage is taken up by text messaging, and 38% is spent on social media/networking sites.
10. Phone Calls Aren’t On My Time
When someone calls you, it disrupts whatever you’re working on. Phone calls take control away from you and give it to the person calling.
If you accept the call, you are accepting the caller’s control over you and your schedule. Millennials are productivity-driven and want to do things on their own time.
So when they don’t answer your call, it’s not because they’re trying to be rude. It’s because they want to keep things under their control and make the most out of their day.
If you really want to reach Millennials, you should start texting with them.