Is the demise of the phone call killing business relationships?

Event planners and suppliers asked whether telephone calls are a thing of the past, as part of a debate at C&IT's US Forum.

The relatively sedate topic of phone calls sparked an impassioned debate among audience members when a panel discussed business relationships between event planners and suppliers.

"Maybe it’s just me but I have a feeling my calls are being filtered," said one venue manager. I have such a hard time getting hold of an agency over the phone. 

"Sometimes days and weeks go by with unreplied emails and voicemails. When I say ‘we will have to release this space if we get no feedback’, suddenly we get a reaction. Why is it so difficult to establish that phone connection?"

Another member of the audience who was also a supplier said: "I find that the younger members of my team don’t want to pick up the phone and have a conversation. 

"People would rather send an email or you do call someone and they say ‘can you send me an email please, I can’t talk right now.’ I think telephone calls are becoming a thing of the past." 

In response, one American event planner said: "We’re encouraged to document everything, so we’re not really dodging the phone call but if it needs to be documented by email, we think let’s just do it this way anyway."

Another US event planner said: "Sometimes it’s just the timing. You’re working on five or 10 proposals at different stages and picking up the phone takes too much time."

One event planner suggested that emails are more open to misinterpretation, whereas with a phone call it's much easier to judge someone's tone and avoid problems early on.

Another event planner added: "I think a lot of us see the phone call as such a time investment, a half an hour block of our time. If we can promise each other that this is going to be a seven minute discussion without preamble of ‘this is what our property is about’ and just get to the point, I’d feel a lot better about picking up the phone." 

You can watch the whole discussion in the video below.

The C&IT US Forum was held at Chewton Glen in Hampshire.

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