Should You Call or Text? A Detailed Comparison
Published: Nov 27, 2023
Have you ever had a phone call and thought to yourself, “This could’ve been a text”? We live in a pro-text world where most people prefer messaging as a primary communication method. But phone calls are no less a staple of how we connect with people. This begs the question: should you call or text?
There’s no definitive answer because it depends on the situation. What kind of information are you trying to relay? Is it urgent? How do your consumers prefer to communicate? Understanding the advantages each mode of communication has over the other, along with the downsides, will give you an idea of when to choose texting and calling.
The Changing Landscape of Communication
In the past, phone calls were the go-to choice for business-customer communication, offering direct connections. Today, we see a dynamic shift in communication preferences, especially among younger generations.
Research indicates that the traditional phone call is being supplanted by texting, highlighting a new era where adaptability and convenience take center stage. This transition is not a mere trend; it's a fundamental change in the way we communicate, and businesses that understand this shift are better positioned to engage their customers effectively.
Advantages of Texting Vs. Calling
1. Quick and Convenient
You don't need to conduct thorough research to see that texting offers speed and convenience. You can convey your message in a matter of seconds without the need for small talk or long conversations, which is useful for brief questions, quick updates, or relaying information efficiently.
2. Prompt Response
People check their mobile phones frequently, which is why text messages result in faster responses as opposed to missed calls or voicemails. This is especially important for time-sensitive matters like emergency alerts, where the recipient needs to read the message or respond immediately.
Another advantage of text messaging is that it’s more cost-effective than making phone calls in the context of international or long-distance cases. Many mobile plans offer unlimited texting, meaning you can send messages without worrying about extra charges.
SMS Marketing Pricing
We use a pay-as-you-go pricing model, meaning we charge per sent message. No monthly or sign-up fees. SMS marketing costs vary depending on your destination.
4. Mass Communication
Texting allows for efficient communication on a massive scale. You can send mass text messages to a large group of recipients at the same time, making it an integral tool for SMS marketing. The ability to communicate with a wide audience in one go saves time and guarantees consistent communication. On the other hand, calling existing or potential customers one by one can be time-consuming.
5. Private and Discrete
Many people prefer texts because they're a discrete way of communicating information. You can convey sensitive or personal information in a quick text without actually speaking, making it suitable for situations where you're in a public place and don't want to disturb people around you. Not to mention, it's useful when discussing confidential matters, sharing important news, or conducting business transactions.
6. Preferred Among Younger Generations
Not everyone is comfortable communicating via phone calls, be it with friends, colleagues, or a company. Younger generations, like Millennials and Gen Z, prefer texting vs. calling—it's less intrusive and more in line with their digital lifestyles. A company that targets these demographics can benefit from text messaging as it aligns with preferred communication methods.
Why People Prefer Phone Calls: Advantages
1. Personal Touch
When it comes to texting vs. calling, the latter allows for a more human touch in communication. You get to convey emotions, tone, and details more effectively than text messaging. Hearing someone's voice adds a hint of sincerity to the conversation and lays the foundation for building strong relationships with customers.
Many people prefer phone calls for that reason, whether it's for professional or casual conversations with friends about personal life and social relationships. Even businesses benefit from human connection as they can get to know their target audience better.
2. Detailed Conversation
When it comes to in-depth discussions, phone calls are the go-to choice. Unlike text messages, calling provides more space for detailed explanations and is ideal for business negotiations, customer support, and resolving complex matters.
3. Instant Feedback
With a phone call, you receive instant feedback—you get to hear the tone of voice or how the other party speaks. This way, your customers communicate their emotional state, which allows you to clarify things on the spot.
3. Builds Stronger Bonds
Human connection can do wonders for personal and professional relationships. Engaging in voice conversations can foster a deeper connection, as it shows that you’re willing to invest time and attention in the other person. You build rapport with customers, partners, and other business contacts; video chat offers the same advantage.
Disadvantages of Texting
1. Less Room for Complex Information
As convenient and cost-effective as it is, SMS communication has a few limitations when it comes to conveying detailed information. Text messages are concise, making it hard to provide in-depth explanations.
This can be a disadvantage in cases where comprehensive information or instructions are involved, like technical support or complicated project details. To add to that, oversimplifying complex ideas can lead to misunderstandings.
2. Doesn’t Convey Tone
Text messages don’t carry the voice and verbal cues that are present in phone conversations, resulting in a higher risk of misinterpretation. Without vocal intonation, it's easier to misread the intended tone of the message.
For example, a friendly remark can come off as sarcasm or criticism, leading to misunderstandings that can strain relationships with customers, partners, or other business contacts. Not to mention, it can even damage a romantic relationship.
Disadvantages of Calling
1. Can Be Intrusive
Phone calls are often intrusive for some people; they demand immediate attention and can be annoying if the recipient is busy. While a call may be important to the caller, the person on the receiving end may not be interested at the moment. Nobody wants to pick up their phone when they’re in the middle of an important meeting, concentrated on work, or just trying to soak up some peace and quiet.
2. Can Be Costly
Voice communication—long-distance or international calls—can incur significant costs, which can be an issue for businesses, where making frequent calls can be quite expensive. While certain communication plans offer unlimited calling, additional charges may apply. And before you know it, you’ll find yourself reevaluating your budget.
3. Low Response Rates
With telemarketing and spam calls being notorious, many people are now reluctant to answer calls from unknown phone numbers. This results in lower response rates, as people often ignore calls from numbers they’re not familiar with. Many people also hate the idea of talking on cell phones, which is a challenge for businesses trying to reach customers or clients via phone calls.
4. Risks of Tapping
Phone calls—mainly those on traditional phone networks—are prone to tapping or eavesdropping by malicious parties. Security concerns come to the forefront, particularly in conversations where privacy is important, such as when discussing personal, financial, or sensitive information. With encryption technologies, the risk of interception is low but still there.
How to Decide Whether to Call or Send a Text Message
Purpose of Communication
When deciding whether to text or call, consider the purpose of your communication. Texting is ideal for sharing quick updates, asking brief questions, or delivering straightforward information. Meanwhile, phone calls are more suitable for complex topics, in-depth discussions, or detailed explanations. Figure out if the communication calls for a back-and-forth dialogue or if a simple text message will do.
What Does the Recipient Prefer: Texting or Calling?
Find out the recipient's preferred form of communication. While some people prefer the immediacy and human touch of a phone call, others favor the convenience and asynchronicity of texting. Knowing what your target audience prefers helps you carry out more effective and well-received communications.
How Urgent is the Message?
How urgently do you need to get your message across? If the message is time-sensitive or needs a prompt response, a phone is the better choice. As immediate as texting can be, phone calls offer real-time interaction, which is crucial when the matter calls for swift actions or decisions. Texting, although convenient, is probably not as timely in such scenarios.
Another factor to account for is cost. How much will it cost to carry out your communication? Phone calls can result in higher costs, particularly for long-distance or international calls. Simultaneously, text messaging can be more cost-effective in many cases. With that in mind, you’ll need to strike a balance between cost efficiency and effective communication.
Role of Tone
Does tone play an essential role in your communication? If emotion is necessary for conveying your intent accurately, a phone call is likely the better choice. The voice, intonation, and accentuation in a conversation can prevent misunderstandings and help you convey the message's context and emotions effectively. When you send text messages, you lose all those vocal cues, so communicating with clarity can be a challenge.
When Are Text Messages the Better Choice
Considering the factors, there are certain cases where you’re better off texting. These include:
SMS marketing: Text-based communication can be enough to share coupons, promotional messages, and exclusive deals
Reaching younger audiences: If you’re trying to connect with millennials and younger audiences, an SMS message is your go-to choice
Sending links: A text message can include links for payments, feedback, reviews, and referrals
Delivering basic information: Texting is suitable for conveying basic or casual information like your office address
When Are Phone Calls the Better Choice?
Don’t write off phone calls just yet. Some scenarios will require you to just talk on the phone. These include:
Closing a deal: The level of personalization and human touch make phone calls the preferred method for closing a deal
Resolving complex issues: Sorting out complicated matters often requires back-and-forth chatting, which is more convenient to do on the phone
In-depth discussions: Carrying out in-depth discussions or providing explanations also involves a great deal of back-and-forth, so it’s better to go for a voice chat