A CPA called me today and left a message with a question. My first thought was to call him. If I phone him, one of the following happens:
- No answer and I play phone tag.
- He answers and wants to talk about other things.
- He answers, and I provide him with a response.
The first two possibilities are not good (if you are busy like I am–and I know you are).
My next thought: I will text him. I did, and it took about 30 seconds.
With the options to text, email, or call, which is best? Let’s see.
I like to think of these choices as: a sprint, a run, or a walk.
Texting – A Sprint
If a client or firm member texts me, I will text back–as long as:
- The response is short and
- The response does not contain sensitive information
Why not just call or email the client or firm member?
In the middle of busy season, I’m looking for every moment I can save. Many times a text answers my client’s or firm member’s question–and I can do so in a timely manner (this is better than not responding at all because I’m too busy).
Emailing – A Run
When is email a better option?
Mainly when you need to send attachments. Emails take longer than texts but seem to work better–at least for me–when more than one or two short answers are necessary.
If you are emailing sensitive information, consider using a secure method such as ShareFile to do so. ShareFile offers an Outlook add-in that makes the transfer seamless.
Calling – A Walk
I call when the message is important or long.
We lose something in electronic communications. Our tone of voice and inflections say a great deal. Phone calls will usually take longer than texts or emails, but may be warranted if the issues are of high importance.
If my communication is lengthy (say more than three medium-sized points or one complicated issue), I usually opt for a phone call. If you are providing accounting, tax, or auditing advice, consider whether you need to document the phone conversation in a memo to your client’s file. I use a form that I’ve created for this purpose and keep it handy in my Evernote cloud account.
Sprint, run, or walk. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Regardless of your choice, it’s all about communicating clearly and timely. Oops sorry, got to go–someone is texting me.