Legal Marketing: Is the Phone Call an Outmoded Communication Tool?

Phone in Hand

A growing number of people consider phone calls to be interrupting and annoying. The phone call is rapidly fading as e-mailing, followed by an explosion in texting and social media, has pushed the telephone conversation into serious decline.

The debate is raging. Is the phone call dead for law firms and their clients? Most attorneys keep in touch with their clients through phone calls, but is that out of date now? Should they be combining phone call with new technology? Read more and figure out where you fall in this debate.

TechCrunch writer, Alexia Tsotsis, recently wrote an insightful article that has been stirring a lot of debate, “The Phone Call is Dead.”

She writes, “Less obsolete, but more annoying than a handwritten letter, the phone call is fading as a mode of communication even if the nostalgic will be singing its praises for a while.”

While Alexia points out that saying something is “dead” in the tech industry actually means it’s on the decline, she provides some good points regarding the fall of the call.

  • We reached a breaking point in 2008, when text messaging topped mobile phone calling in usage, and we’ve been living in a world dominated by text-based communication ever since.
  • According to Nielsen data, voice usage has been dropping in every age group except for those past the of age of 54.
  • 78 percent of teens recognize the functionality and convenience of SMS, considering it easier (22 percent) and faster (20 percent) than voice calls.
  • Voice activity has decreased 14 percent among teens, who average 646 minutes talking on the phone per month.
  • Interest in voice calling is now sharply differentiated by age, and few technological advancements have ever survived while failing to capture the interest of 22-year-olds.
  • The fall of the call is driven by 18 to 34-year-olds, whose average monthly voice minutes have plunged from about 1,200 to 900 in the past two years, Nielsen research shows.
  • iPhone users (and to greater extent smartphone users in general) are not primarily using our phones to make calls.
  • We now have access to a plethora of free, internet-based calling options like Google Voice.
  • Not only are people making fewer calls, but they are also having shorter conversations when they do call. The average length of a cell phone call has dropped from 2.38 minutes in 1993 to 1.81 minutes in 2009, according to industry data.
  • Between 2005 and 2009, as the number of minutes people spent talking on cell phones inched up, the number of cellphone messages containing text or multimedia content ballooned by 1,840 percent.
  • Cellphone industry group CTIA saw text messaging double from June 2008 to June 2009, when Americans sent a staggering 135.2 billion text messages, and its data backs up the idea that phone calls are declining.
  • Land lines are disappearing. Verizon, the country’s second-largest land line carrier after AT&T, says its hard-wired phone connections have dropped from 50 million in 2005 to 31 million in 2010.

“The fundamental way we people communicate is just about to change again,” said Delly Tamer, CEO of Letstalk, which sells a variety of cellphones. “We humans will now start to rely less on our mouths and more on our heads and our fingers.”

Alexia Tsotsis, is LA Weekly’s internet culture reporter, and SF Weekly’s web editor. Before she joined TechCrunch, she ran the SFweekly.com website while staying on top of memes, the tech scene, and human behavior in the digital age. Read here entire article: “The Phone Call is Dead”.

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