If it can be said, just call instead

It may be the heat getting to me a little, or maybe this has been festering for some time but the other day I was thinking about how life was so much better when people actually had to pay for text messages.

I‘m old enough to remember when a text to a mobile phone beyond that of your own network provider used to cost actual money. 10p a message if I remember correctly. So much so that you had to persuade family and friends to join the same network. Now my memory may be a little hazy here but my point remains and this came to a head recently when my cousin who turned up outside of my house to pick me up and – instead of simply ringing me to tell me he was there – decided to text. I didn’t notice this and he remained out there for a good 15 minutes before doing the second best thing and knocking on the door.

Now this may not seem like a big thing, in reality it isn’t, but it just got me thinking about all the sheer volume of texts and, more predominantly in recent times, WhatsApp messages I receive from a business perspective which are not only draining my time and energy but also my data.

Which leads to my point – when did people stop picking up the phone to ask a question or relay information?

I seem to spend half my time looking down at my phone, my thumb poised and toing and froing on threads and conversations which could easily have been sorted by a two-minute conversation.

Many people, and I’m including myself in this, can get a little sloppy in their messaging. Meaning that important detail and implication can sometimes get lost in translation over such forms of communication. They can also be open to interpretation if the right grammar or punctuation is not included and, for people like me with a relatively short attention span, anything more than 2 short sentences may need me to read it 4 or 5 times to ensure that I have understood it correctly. Then you have to construct a reply. In truth I am not the most dextrous of people so inevitably this takes me longer than it probably should. Then you have to respond to the reply to the reply etc, etc. And don’t even get me started on how many groups I’ve had to mute.

Now a text or WhatsApp message can serve a purpose if it serves as quick, informal update but my mantra is – if it can be said, just call instead. As a packager, we are consistently dealing with the most complex of transactions and it’s vital to ensure that we dot every i and cross every t. We also have to communicate effectivity with all parties in the transactional trail and ensure we meet even the most time-sensitive deadlines.

We also work in a marketplace where the strength of relationships really matter. Relying too heavily on messaging can not only lead to delays on but also takes the personal element out of what we do. Talking through a case on the phone can often lead to different avenues being taken, a far more comprehensive overview of borrowing scenarios outlined and clearer emphasis on the things that really matter for the introducer and the client.

So, before you send your next message, I urge you to consider the benefits attached to picking up the phone instead. It could save you time, data, better resolutions for your clients and also lead to more future business.

Myles Williams, CEO, First 4 Bridging