To Email or Pick Up the Phone…Balancing High Tech With High Touch

Jan 15, 2020 | Uncategorized

Technology is amazing. It allows us fast and easy access to a world of people, opportunities and information resources. It enables us to work whenever and wherever we want. It keeps us on track and propels our speed and efficiency. Yet there’s nothing like an old-fashioned phone call or face-to-face meeting to build or strengthen a relationship and fuel inspiration and creativity.

Think about it this way: As NAWBO leaders and members, we have so many incredible digital resources at our fingertips through our National organization and NAWBO chapters. We hold video chats, send texts and emails, like each other’s social media posts, share articles and videos and much more. But the real magic—when we connect on a deeper, more personal level—often happens when we get together for coffee or lunch, at a chapter event or annually at the NAWBO Leadership Academy or National Women’s Business Conference. It’s these more personal in-between connections that really make technology-driven communications the majority of other times work so incredibly well.

So how do we strike the right balance with one another at NAWBO and, of course, with our employees and customers as women business owners? How do we embrace the latest, coolest technology innovations without losing the human element that’s so critical to all businesses, but maybe more so to small businesses?

A recent article by the Council of Smaller Enterprises, says it doesn’t have to be “either or.” “Both high tech and high touch are essential to a successful business,” it explains. “A balance of both approaches allows a business to use technology for growth without alienating customers or clients. It creates a human bond that helps to offset the coldness of technology. Think of how differently an email can be interpreted vs. an actual phone call or visit. There is no way to attach emotion to an email, so it becomes open to interpretation by the reader. Whereas an actual human encounter leaves little or no space for interpretation. The human element of high touch allows an emotional attachment to take place.”

There are opportunities to balance high tech and high touch all day, every day. For starters, when is it best to pick up the phone and call versus shooting off a quick email?  Here are some smart criteria from a recent marketing blog on HubSpot:

  1. When something has gone wrong. Personally call when you need to apologize, take accountability and move forward with a plan of action to make it right.
  2. When you anticipate a lot of questions. It’s always better to carry on a real-time conversation instead of going back and forth for hours or even days.
  3. When you have to explain something complicated. Written explanations are helpful for getting to the point and keeping on task, however, personal conversations naturally provide deeper context.
  4. When you’ve taken too long to respond. With email overload a business epidemic, it’s likely the person whose email you overlooked will understand. Pick up the phone to let them know they are priority.
  5. When you need to discuss something personal. Life happens and it’s not all roses. If you want or need to share something personal, do it on the phone or in-person. In turn, you’ll feel uplifted by the understanding and support you receive.
  6. When it’s really important. If you have an urgent matter, don’t send an email and wait. Like you, your fellow NAWBO members, employees and clients likely have jam-packed email boxes, so cut through the clutter with a call.

How do you balance high tech and high touch in your life and business?

—Jeanette Armbrust
2019-2020 NAWBO National Board Chair

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