Should it be a call or a text? And how do you know? Though it’s usually the question on a romantically overwrought individual’s mind, we’ve all been there at some point. Trying to determine whether you should text or call is another one of those scenarios where customer relationships can feel like dating.
When it comes to connecting with your customers, the answer to the question “should I text or call?” is: it depends. While we’re currently living in an overwhelmingly pro-text society that operates primarily via messaging as the preferred communication method, the phone call remains a staple of the way we connect with friends, family, and even businesses.
Text and calling both have their place, and knowing when to use each is crucial to your relationships with your customers. While a business’s decision to text or call may not prevent a broken heart as it does in a romantic relationship, it can certainly prevent a broken customer relationship—as well as provide the means to take things to the next level. Ready for the 411 on how to turn a “casual fling” into a “customer for life”? We’re here to help.
Read on to learn when to call vs. text customers and why.
Texting vs. Calling—The Pros and Cons of Each
As you likely already know—whether from personal or business relationships—texting and calling both advantages and disadvantages. And it’s important to know what those are if you want to build a strong customer relationship through seamless, relevant, and meaningful communication.
Yes, the rumors are true. Text has an open rate of over 98%.
And did you know that over 40% of consumers say they are likely to switch to a different business because they offer text messaging to communicate? Over 65% of consumers think texting makes working with a local business more convenient. And consumers are nearly twice as likely (1.8x) to prefer texting to any other communication method.
With over 3.8 billion smartphones in the world, it’s easy to say that messaging has taken over and that text is king. It caters to the modern consumer in an asynchronous, personal, and freedom-promoting way that allows for casual conversations, quick fixes, and fast updates. However, don’t be too quick to crown it the king of all. Because text doesn’t allow for intonation and nuance or longer messages, it can also increase the likelihood of miscommunication and failure to solve more complicated issues. Text:
✅ Delivers ultimate convenience to customers.
✅ Facilitates multimedia communication including images, videos, and links.
✅ Does not requires uninterrupted time or schedule synchronization.
✅ Provides casual, quick, and conversational dialogue.
❌ Can make it harder to resolve complex problems quickly.
❌ Is a service not everyone has.
❌ Does not include the personalization of the human voice.
When the problem is serious or the need for meaningful conversation is more than text messages can handle, calling is the way to go. Phone calls have an undeniable power, it is true. The chase, the connection, the intensity! In all seriousness, though, sometimes it does take a phone call to do what a text message can’t. And what is that, exactly? The heavy lifting.
In recent years, calling in its various forms (such as via softphone or voice chat) has become the go-to for matters that require more in-depth communication. Research shows that consumers prefer voice calls when they need to connect with not only their friends and family, but also their credit card company, insurance agent, and bank.
Despite the problems of lower response rates and limited employee resources that need resolving, businesses approximate that their use of voice will increase (36%) or remain the same (50%) in the next year. Calling:
✅ Helps you quickly solve complex issues and problems.
✅ Provides uninterrupted dialogue and undivided attention.
✅ Engages your customer more quickly and strengthens bonds.
✅ Reduces miscommunication.
❌ Takes up more of your employees’ time.
❌ Typically has lower response rates.
❌ Requires uninterrupted time and schedule synchronization.
How Texting vs. Calling Impacts Customer Relationships
Texting and calling also impact customer relationships differently and imply different things. Did you know that communication that includes voice (such as mobile phone calls, voice chat) creates stronger social bonds than communication that centers around typing (such as text or email?). That’s right, people tend to feel significantly more connected through communication methods based on voice than they do typing-centered methods. Actually hearing someone’s voice can make experiences better.
Research also shows that calling trumps messaging when you want to connect with a person in a meaningful way. Text, on the other hand, increases the conversational tone of an interaction and frees customers to answer confidently in their own time and from their own space. It creates more casual bonds—slightly more transactional, friendly, and low-key than calling. In fact, receiving a text message actually lights up the brain’s reward system and stimulates the dopamine system, which can create a cycle.
Texting and calling also have very different underlying connotations that are important to understand. Texting says to your customers: “This is casual!” “You can take your time or get back to this right away!” “This is simple, friendly, and straightforward.” While calling says: “We really want to connect with you.” “This is a bit more complex/sensitive.” “It would be good for us to talk very soon!”
It is important to consider how your medium will impact your customer relationship before you use it.
Best Practices—When to Call vs. When to Text
When it comes to the important stuff, you should always call. There’s no substitute for the human voice. Calling is excellent when nonverbal cues, nuance, and intonation are vital to the success of an interaction. Rely on call when you need to:
- Resolve a complex issue or problem
- Make a difficult sale
- Close a deal
- Secure a donation
- Communicate sensitive information
- Discuss multiple questions or issues
- Have in-depth discussions
- Take care of emergencies
If you’re worried that something might not come across correctly via text message, err on the side of calling. Pro tip: When you do call, it’s important to let customers know who is calling them. That means paying for branded caller ID.
You should use text for just about everything else. While you can make up for some nonverbal cues with punctuation and emojis, it is great to use text for simple and straightforward messages while adding a personal, human touch. Use text to:
- Confirm appointments, bookings, and applications
- Send updates on shipping, inventory, COVID policies, operation hours, etc.
- Deliver promotional messaging and coupons
- Send website links
- Deliver payment links
- Ask for customer feedback or referrals
- Ask for reviews
- Celebrate holidays and birthdays
- Communicate basic or casual information
Pro tip: Often, it’s nice to text before you call, setting expectations and letting customers know what is going to happen. This helps the call feel less intrusive, wastes less time, and increases efficiency.
SMS marketing platforms are a great way to really get on top of your text message marketing and make sure that each of your SMS messages carries as much impact as possible.
Ready to use texting and calling perfectly in sync? Try the platform that does it all—really well, if we do say so ourselves—and all from one place. Learn how Podium can help you use text and calling in perfect tandem here. With the right tools, and sweet, top-of-the-line text message marketing software, your customer relationships will not only blossom into a flirtationship; they’ll last a lifetime. ♥️