Why Voice Communication Can’t Stand Alone
Voice Communication is Essential, But It’s Not the Only Mode Needed
“We need voice back in our communication,” wrote David Pierce in the WSJ a few weeks ago. At Zinc, we agree. The foundation of our All Mode Communication platform is that people need the ability to communicate in the mode that best suits their environment, context and topic, for which voice communication is a critical piece. Importantly though, voice is just one mode, especially in many work settings.
For example, if you are a service technician in the field and need help solving a problem, you need quick pointed answers to your problem, and trying to describe something over the phone can sometimes be exhausting. Being able to snap a quick picture or record a video of the problem is often more effective.
The Power of All Mode on the Job
Recently I was shadowing one of our customer’s teams responsible for supporting their field technicians. After a few minutes of verbal back and forth trying to isolate a problem, the support technician asked the field tech to “Zinc me a quick picture of the part.” Five seconds later, it was clear to the support guy what the exact issue was, which as it turns out, was something totally different from that originally described on the call. Ten minutes of voice communication could have been avoided with a simple picture. When time is money and solving customers’ problems correctly and quickly is the name of the game, relying on JUST a call or voice communication is almost archaic. So while voice is of course important, it’s just one way to communicate and sometimes it’s not the best.
As Pierce points out, a quick text message makes for an efficient interaction: “Back when you only had 160 characters and paid by the message, there was no time for wasted words.” He goes on to say “texting lacks humanity” and at times texting can lack efficiency too. Compared to voice, texting can have its downsides. While Pierce proposes “the answer might be in another vintage tech that has undergone a high-tech evolution: the walkie-talkie,” that proposal does not work in isolation, however.
The ability to quickly send a voice message is great. It’s quick, easy to do, and the tone of the voice used can communicate so much. It’s great for the first few back and forth messages. Try having a sustained back and forth conversation like that though, the back and forth can become confusing, you need to wait for the other person to be done with their message before you can respond. Also, you can’t make verbal acknowledgments, messages can’t be more than a few words long before they feel rambling. There is a reason the phone was invented and flourished all these years compared to the two-way radio because it closely mimics a live, face to face conversation. Again another mode of communication that has it’s time and place.
So a phone call can be great, messaging can be great, walkie-talkie style voice messages can be great, image and video messaging can be great, video calling too. It just depends on the environment and context that you are communicating in. In the work context, having to jump through a myriad of different apps to use the best mode for your context is not only time consuming but also super frustrating.
Removing Frustrations Means Providing Versatility
With Zinc, you can start with one mode of communication and seamlessly transition to a different mode, all without losing the context of the conversation. Have a team discussing an issue in a group text, and maybe the conversation gets too nuanced for text, click a button and everyone is connected to a Zinc conference call. Need to show the team something that you are trying to describe? Send a quick photo to the group while you are all on a call together.
This is the power of Zinc’s All Mode communication platform; people have immediate access to the right people and information they need to get their job done, though any mode most appropriate for the conversation context. Pierce was right “We need voice back in our communication,” we just need all the other modes too.