Friday, May 21, 2010

MISSING - PHONE NUMBERS

In these days of straightforward communication at all levels, why do so many people omit good, old-fashioned telephone numbers – office or mobile – from their emails?

Equally, why do some websites hide contact telephone numbers away as if they are an embarrassment to them? Phone calls are great ways to clarify matters, clear up any written misunderstandings, discuss issues fluently, or keep in touch. For me, it’s still a natural way to connect and to do business in addition to email, and other helpful social media activity.

I really don’t understand why phone numbers are banished from online appearances. Modern day communication is as straightforward, allegedly, as it’s ever been. Those PR practitioners among us want to communicate, discuss, share, connect, converse, inform, entertain, interest - that’s our business.

So when organisations – and, astonishingly some major media outlets are guilty of this – fail to provide simple phone contact details, an unnecessary difficulty arises. A PR chum, keen to target leading blogs, told me some didn’t even have email addresses – one-way communication only, it would seem.

That’s when a simple telephone number comes into its own, to play a key role. I joke with friends and clients that I’m “going over the wire, Steve McQueen-style and avoiding the Twitter/Facebook spotlights” by making direct contact on the phone. Think I’ll be booted out of the social media club for that confession?

Making telephone contact is essential in business, and in life, generally. Another bugbear is voice mail messages when no return numbers are left. Or numbers are left, but rattled off really, really, really quickly as if the caller was fleeing a blazing building.

I love social media and the speed of Internet services as they make life a whole lot easier for us all. But, telephone numbers should still be in the contact mix.

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