Emails, SMS, instant messaging; in a digital world we are spoilt for choice when picking a method of communication. But what’s really effective when reaching out to people?
According to a recent US/Canadian study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, it would take requesting something from just six people face-to-face to achieve the same effectiveness of a 200-person strong email blast.
The study has found that people tend to overestimate the power of their persuasiveness via text-based communication, and underestimate the power of their persuasiveness via face-to-face communication. As part of the study, 45 participants asked 450 strangers to complete a short survey. Half of the participants made their requests over email, while the other half asked face-to-face.
The research found that people were much more likely to agree to complete a survey when they were asked in person as opposed to over email.
So, what does this mean in a business setting? Here’s a few ways you can utilise face-to-face communication over email.
Bring your online businesses to the physical world
While the nature of running an ecommerce business dictates you have a digital relationship with your customer base, don’t underestimate the power of bringing your brand to life in the physical world.
Whether your online store sells products or you’re in the business of experiences, holding a pop-up shop or event gives you the chance to connect with your customers in real life and physically immerse them in your brand.
Think quirky and fun spaces that reflect the look and feel of your business. For customers, it gives them a chance to learn more about your brand and perhaps discover new products or services.
When approaching the boss
If your boss is time poor, or of the draconian persuasion, the temptation to shoot over an email rather than approaching them in person is easy to give in to. But if the reason for contacting your superior is along the lines of asking for a promotion or resolving a large problem, requesting a meeting in person is a more effective method than adding to the pile of emails in their inbox.
Instead, head over to their office or desk space at an appropriate moment and ask to arrange a meeting with them later that day (if they are available). Presenting yourself in person makes it much harder for them to deny your request and also hints at a sense of self-respect and urgency for your meeting.
Asking for customer feedback
Want to gather more information about your consumer base but digital methods aren’t proving effective? Getting people to share feedback with a company isn’t always an easy endeavour, but asking them face to face rather than over email will convey more legitimacy, according to the research.
The study found that the nonverbal cues conveyed during a face-to-face interaction made all the difference in how people viewed the legitimacy of their requests. So a smile and positive body language can be more helpful than a well-crafted sentence.
Why not consider holding a focus group with existing and new customers? Whether you want to test the waters with a new product or service or better sound out what your customers think of you as a brand, gathering people in a room can be an effective way of receiving in-depth feedback.
To entice people to attend you might offer them an early look at a new product or give them access to special promotions in the future.