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Is the world terrified of phone calls?

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Resilient Acceleration
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Is the world terrified of phone calls?

Postby Resilient Acceleration » Sat Nov 20, 2021 3:38 am

One day, my mom happened to have a particular illness, and her online doctor said he needed some lab data. So I had to find out which labs (1) offer the particular service we needed and (2) are the cheapest. (Public healthcare quality here is terrible - fuck those, meaning that those lucky enough to be able to afford it universally use private services). So I did what a sensible guy would do - Google it. But some labs only have the necessary information in their mobile apps, so I have to install them first. Then, I made a list of the available products and their prices, which is quite complex since many of them offer services in package bundles promos. Their UX isn't really that great, too.

My mom, impatient, then told me: "why don't you just call them and ask?" Truthfully, I've thought about that, but I purposely avoided it until it's not really logical to maintain. So I did. I thought of the things I'd like to talk about, ran them in my head, enter the number, and then press the "call" button.

I needed 5-10 minutes just to gather enough will to press it. It used to be worse, but it's getting better.

Apparently, I'm not alone.

81% of millennials get apprehension anxiety before summoning up the courage to make a call. 75% of millennials avoid phone calls as they’re time-consuming, 64% try to avoid whiny or needy people. 63% of people use the excuse ‘I didn’t notice it ring/vibrate’ as a reason for avoiding your call, followed by 12% blaming phone signal. https://www.bankmycell.com/blog/why-mil ... nore-calls


In general, phoning people without prior text-based notification first, if you're a stranger, seems to now be universally seen as rude at best and a criminal (in a legal sense) malice of hostile or scammy intent at worst.
Calling without even texting or emailing first is also deemed inconsiderate by today’s youth. For them, it means the caller is imposing on their time, or disrupting their schedule. Your CRM personnel will most likely receive the cold shoulder (or a hurried “goodbye”) when your consumers realize they need to wait for five to ten minutes before they get what they need. Studies also reveal that members of Generation Z are even less likely to want to be “always reachable” by phone call than their millennial counterparts. https://godeskless.com/blog/millennials ... ies-adapt/


This dramatic shift has had a significant impact on how businesses operate and interact with customers, as the two youngest generation seems to have a significantly lower attention span and patience to those asking for their time.
Millennials and Gen-Z don’t like the “small talk” aspect of phone calls, including niceties and greetings. They prefer faster, more direct communication, with straightforward results. A quick text, they think, would have the same effect in an arguably shorter time. In a business transaction setting, this will only trigger impatience and misunderstanding with your customers. By the end of the call, they will have likely Google-searched your competitor as an alternative to your services. https://godeskless.com/blog/millennials ... ies-adapt/

A recent comScore study shows that millennials don’t engage with longer pieces of selling content. Ads targeting millennials need to be just 5 to 6 seconds in length to be effective. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/21/comscor ... ntion.html


(On that note, I think I now understand why the New York Times employs the should-be-illegal "click to subscribe, call to unsubscribe" policy on their customers.)

Anecdotally, I think two other additional reasons unmentioned above are (1) today's far stricter awareness of privacy and (2) the prevalence of telemarketers and scam calls. If someone calls you through your phone, 90% of the time it'll be an annoying salesman who illegally (at least according to my standards) acquired your number, or an annoying scammer from a scam farm. Now, if a number i don't know calls, I pretend to not notice and wait until the call dies down (I don't even try to reject it - there are various rumors circulating here about how even "rejecting" a phone call can compromise your security), with the assumption that they'll text me is it's actually something important. From which I'll then engage - through text.

Then again, this might not be entirely caused by phone itself, but part of a larger cultural shift.
The Center for Generational Kinetics has found that millennials prefer to communicate in this order:
  • Texts and texting apps like WhatsApp/Facebook Messenger
  • Email, with the subject line being the most important aspect
  • Social media
  • Phone calls
  • In-person interactions
From this, we can see that the issue is not with phones themselves, but calling. In fact, research shows that 39 percent of millennials would rather interact with their phones than with actual people. https://genhq.com/marketing-selling-to- ... als-gen-y/


Thoughts? What do you think about phone calls? What does this phenomenon say about the development of our society?
Last edited by Resilient Acceleration on Sat Nov 20, 2021 3:43 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Saiwania
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Postby Saiwania » Sat Nov 20, 2021 3:48 am

Phone calls are definitely obsolete or trending towards that. You lose tone/emotion from not using voice communication but its also perhaps not the best method either for many people. You can mishear someone or not have the best speech yourself. If talking is via text, its a huge advantage to not need to deal with lisps, accents, and so on that make it difficult to understand someone.

I far prefer written speech over anything spoken to the most extent possible.
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Postby The Alma Mater » Sat Nov 20, 2021 3:54 am

Terrfied..no, but I never liked them. I only got a mobile phone when it's primary function no longer was to call people.
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Postby Taxonomic Kingdoms » Sat Nov 20, 2021 4:09 am

I have some issues with phone anxiety, but there are some things where calling people is still useful, and I don't mind friends who prefer to call instead of text.

I don't like when people are calling or texting all the time. But either way is fine when someone has a legitimate reason to contact me.

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Postby The Second JELLIAN Republic » Sat Nov 20, 2021 4:20 am

It could be because a phone is much more “in person” than a text.
And the wider multi generational trend of faster, more impersonal communication.
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Postby Page » Sat Nov 20, 2021 4:41 am

Everyone I know knows that if it's not a life and death emergency, they should text/Whatsapp/DM me. The only exception is my in-laws because they're old and never learned to text effectively, so they're allowed to call me.

I have a policy of never answering unknown numbers. If I'm getting into a situation where someone will have to call me later, I will ask them to tell me the number they plan on calling from so I can add them to my contacts. When an unknown number calls me more than once I block it.

So yeah I have that stereotypical millenial phone anxiety. Why? Maybe it's because I fear that I'll sound like an idiot if I don't have the time to organize my thoughts. Maybe it's because I was a very awkward kid and it took me to 25 to get my charisma to average but in a phone call I don't have all the advantages of body language and facial expressions to guide me. Don't know, don't care, don't call me. I'm looking forward to the day when speech to text becomes so ubiquitous that even a double amputee will not have a valid excuse to call me.
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Postby Washington Resistance Army » Sat Nov 20, 2021 5:58 am

I dislike phone calls because they're mostly obsolete imo unless it's a very serious situation. If it's something more casual and not serious like making an appointment or contacting emergency services or something I'll just send a text and you'll reply whenever you do.

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Postby Kerwa » Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:02 am

I think it’s more people just not liking dealing with strangers/making calls than some fear or terror. It’s a process most people find slightly unpleasant (especially business related etc.) which is why rich people pay others to do it for them.

I’m actually fine with them when it’s friends /family.

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Postby Valentine Z » Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:07 am

I don't mind but in the current world with instant messaging, emails, and everything else, I will prefer it if I can describe and explain to the best of my writings and abilities, rather than making sure that the speaker on the other end can understand my accent and speech.

Ordering delivery, for example:
- Online: Takes a few clicks, you can double-check your order, payment is swift.
- Phone call: Speak your order out slowly, check slower, payment is slower (unless you are paying by cash by the doorstep).

On the other hand, I still do things like banking and stuff by calling and inquiring first because it's good to have a human on the other line for such a purpose because everything can be clarified easier and better. Same with calling your family doctor or even the hospital. I will still do a human inquiry.

Additionally, if you are calling me, and you're not a spam caller, I will assume that it is very important for me to look at. Same with my workplace - if it is something I can look at later, raise a ticket and text me or email me. If it is important, raise a ticket, THEN call me.

In short?
Trivial / Non-important stuff like delivery, dinner reservations, tech support, etc: Message, Email, etc.
Very important stuff: Call.
Last edited by Valentine Z on Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Lady Victory » Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:11 am

Zoomer here.

If I don't know the number, I don't answer. Leave a message and I'll call you back if I care enough. Otherwise, I prefer texting. It's more convenient. Also I hate small talk with a passion.
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Postby Picairn » Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:18 am

Same as other people here, I prefer texting to calling. I can control the conversation in texts, while in a phone call I usually won't interrupt someone out of politeness/fear of them yelling at me, and thereby have to endure their attempts at selling me a new product.
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Postby Haganham » Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:24 am

Lady Victory wrote:Zoomer here.

If I don't know the number, I don't answer. Leave a message and I'll call you back if I care enough. Otherwise, I prefer texting. It's more convenient. Also I hate small talk with a passion.

This. If you call me from an unknown number you are calling to tell me about my car's extended warranty. It is up to you to convince me otherwise.
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Postby Dumb Ideologies » Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:25 am

I dislike them. With a lot of things you end up going through to a switchboard where someone who doesn't know the finer details of what everyone does puts you through to the wrong person and eventually you end up being given an email address. Which is progress of a sort, as these usually aren't available on the website where you just get some very specific topic contact forms to fill in that don't fit a lot of queries. It's often quite a time sink for a very simple question. At my work I'm the person in our department who often gets the initial calls despite being the least qualified person to answer them and so I also get to reads out the email addresses to other people.
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Kerwa
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Postby Kerwa » Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:28 am

Lady Victory wrote:Zoomer here.

If I don't know the number, I don't answer. Leave a message and I'll call you back if I care enough. Otherwise, I prefer texting. It's more convenient. Also I hate small talk with a passion.


That’s just sensible though. My peer group (x) is the same.

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Postby Ghost Land » Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:30 am

Late millennial without a smartphone here. Calling people has never struck me as rude or intrusive, and it's actually only online that I've read that. Talking on the phone has been my preferred method of talking to my friends, other than in-person interactions, since high school.

My preferred interaction type depends on who's contacting me and why. With friends and family, I prefer calling because I get to hear the other person's voice and it feels more like a legitimate conversation as a result. My paternal grandparents don't have Internet or cellphones, so calling them on their good old-fashioned landline is my only option and I'm okay with that. When it comes to work stuff and other official business, however, I'd rather communicate via e-mail, as it gives the impression that I'm more so allowed to respond on my own time with a message of any length as opposed to having to drop everything at the moment they call to talk to them right then and there. In other words, my preference all boils down to a duality of "do I want to talk to you?".

With that being said, I've never been one to answer calls from unknown numbers. That's what made caller ID so cool when we got it in the mid-2000s or so: we were finally able to see the number of who was calling and screen people out if they were random numbers, telemarketers, scammers, or prank callers.
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Postby Yania Byz » Sat Nov 20, 2021 8:07 am

I seldom answer unknown numbers because they're usually trying to sell me something. Also, phone calls interrupt whatever I'm doing.

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Postby A m e n r i a » Sat Nov 20, 2021 8:12 am

I know I get anxious when my phone rings but holy shit I didn't know this many people do.
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Postby Page » Sat Nov 20, 2021 9:15 am

I love this thread. This has been whatever the exact opposite of gaslighting is for me, I'm not insanely neurotic for refusing to answer unknown numbers.
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Postby Thepeopl » Sat Nov 20, 2021 9:42 am

I prefer phone calls, because I've already tried to get my request across in the "standard" mail/ form which didn't work.
I tend to want/ need things that aren't standardized apparently.
Unknown numbers are answered if I do have time. I like to ask the "opposite questionnaire" to telemarketers. I ask them whether the job pays well, healthcare, what they have/ are going to eat.

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Postby Major-Tom » Sat Nov 20, 2021 9:43 am

A lot of people seem to dislike them, but I don't know that qualifies as being "terrified of them." I'm rather positive phone calls myself, but I understand the negative sentiment. Maybe I'm just a chatterbox.
Last edited by Major-Tom on Sat Nov 20, 2021 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Stellar Colonies » Sat Nov 20, 2021 10:02 am

Phone calls are annoying and require more effort than texts, and I usually only use it in an official capacity and talking with certain relatives.

Glad to see I'm not alone in thinking this.
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Postby Heloin » Sat Nov 20, 2021 10:06 am

I don’t answer unknown calls unless i’m in an unfortunate situation waiting for an unknown call. I won’t call if it can be avoided because i hate it. My mum finally got me to set up an answering machine and all it is is me saying i will never check these, don’t leave a message.

I don’t know if i’m afraid of phone calls but i can clearly say that i hate them.
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Postby Saiwania » Sat Nov 20, 2021 12:49 pm

The unfortunate thing is that you usually still need a phone or to use voice communication if you're applying for jobs. If its not a phone interview, potential new employers want a way to reach you if they want to hire you.
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Postby LDS Mesa » Sat Nov 20, 2021 12:51 pm

I'm not afraid of phone calls, just of people driving while calling or texting. That should carry a stiff jail term, fine, and suspension of driving privileges.
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Postby Thermodolia » Sat Nov 20, 2021 12:57 pm

Well I’m definitely in the minority. I prefer phone calls as I can’t type fast enough nor can I spell. So talking is easier for me
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