If you think about what constitutes a successful business, you may find that your mind conjures up pictures of busy offices with the phone ringing off the hook and people running around like mad. While such attention is a good thing, the times are changing, and the way in which people make contact with businesses is as well. While you might want your phone to be ringing off the hook, the technological world has other ways of communication that don’t necessarily involve that.

How do people contact businesses?

When thinking of how your clients contact you, your primary thought may be the telephone. They look up your number, dial it, and talk with someone on the phone directly. But this leads to the question of what happens when you are unable to talk to them, whether it is because your phone system is down or you’re busy. There is a danger that, if you don’t provide alternate ways of contacting your business, people may decline to contact you at all.

Alternatives to the Good Old Phone System

A major part of marketing involves giving people the chance to give your business feedback and reviews in order to provide constructive information on your weaknesses and strengths. Social media marketing allows for that. With social media, you can reply instantly to a comment, post, or private message. More and more businesses are choosing to conduct a lot of their communication on social media, and through other platforms like it. According to Pew Research Center, 52% of US adults now use two or more social media sites in order to keep in contact with friends, family, and businesses. This increase in one form of communication doesn’t necessarily mean that there needs to be an eschewing of the other form entirely. While communication may have become more internet-oriented, your phone system is still an important part of doing business.

What about email?

Another decades-long staple of the internet, email is another way that businesses can keep in contact with their consumers. This email service can come from a portal directly connected to your site, or it can be an address that people can use from their own private email. Email allows people to explain things more efficiently—it’s easier to write a letter expressing your thoughts than it is to remember them and say them on the phone. Email is a good option for businesses who are able to respond quickly and thoroughly. If your business isn’t able to monitor its email account with the amount of diligence needed, then you may require a communications professional to handle that for you.

Bottom line: you don’t always “need” the phone to ring off the hook

As stated in this article, the newer forms of communication are putting the good old phone call to the wayside. People are preferring to use social media and other online platforms in which to conduct their business and communicate with those they need to keep in contact with. Don’t take silence as a bad sign; it could actually just mean that there are other ways in which your clientele are choosing to contact you and leave feedback for your business. The phone is convenient, but online communications are edging it out as the preferred form of contact.

This isn’t to say you should neglect your phone system. Rather, understand that as technology becomes more advanced and people become more adaptive to new systems, there is a shift from telephone communication to the quicker, less-timely (and less costly) social media and other online platform communication.