July 2021 – One of my best birthday gifts when I was a kid was a pink phone.

iSPARK Consulting Contact UsI was beyond thrilled with this gift! Particularly because what followed was the installation of a dedicated phone line in my room and a phone listing in our local phone book that read: ‘Krista’s Phone’.

It’s hard to believe that the latest research shows that people are increasingly shunning the good old-fashioned telephone in favour of alternative means of communication.

Earlier this month I participated in a chat group with some other marketing agency small business owners. There was a wild debate about use of the phone as a communication tool with clients and new prospects. Some of the group were adamant that they ‘never hardly ever’ answer their business phone and channel all business communication through email or text.

Those on the other side of the argument (i.e. the phone users) were horrified at the thought of snubbing the phone.

I can see both sides.

My own internal policy related to phone use has changed significantly over the last 2 years.

I do still use a landline. It is our primary business number and I only answer it during office hours.

However, I rarely give out my cell number to business contacts. I do that for privacy and peace – two things that I cherish.

If you tried calling me recently, you’ll notice that my landline voicemail indicates that I only check voicemail 1x per day and that emailing me will result in a quicker response time.

If you call my cell, my voicemail says that I rarely check voicemail and my preference is text.

Because there is no longer an expectation of a pick-up, I, like many others, am selective and strategic in my phone use. The automatic reflex of answering the phone that was ingrained into people who grew up in 20th-century telephone culture is gone.

There are certain days and times when I simply don’t feel like talking and I’m okay with that. There are other circumstances when it is a must (we have one iSPARK client who definitely prefers the phone over email).

I saw this joke and it reminded me how much things have changed:

Mom: Hey son – can you go grab me a phone book?
Son (Laughing): You’re a dinosaur – just use my iPhone.
Mom: Well, the spider is now dead, but your iPhone screen is cracked. Sorry!

Since it’s hard to know what someone’s communication preference may be, we recently updated the Contact Us section of the iSPARK website. Visitors now have 4 options so that we’re accommodating both the Chatty Cathy and the Lurker (and everyone in between).

I’m curious – If I called you right now would you pick-up?