Agent Provocateur: Forget the technology, we need to speak!

Is there a dichotomy at the heart of the communication revolution in our industry?

Forget the average [almost middle-aged] first-time buyer and let’s concentrate on normal people getting on with their lives, i.e. probably well into 40s and possibly 50s.

Now let’s think about those who are allergic to the telephone, the generation of people who will ignore a call and text back “yes, what do you want?”

Millennials and Generation Z are barely even in rentals yet, let alone buying.

So the question I’m asking is this: are systems designed to communicate exclusively online, i.e. with the latter group, the right way to talk to those still used to judging you by the timbre of your voice on the phone or how you’re sitting when you impart news or information.

Accusing all over-40s of being luddites is obviously fatuous, but given the issues anyone in that age bracket finds when using non-verbal communication, it’s surely going to lead to frustration and a misunderstanding of service commitments.

There are some very clever online tools out there being used by agents but ALL of them need a button underneath giving those receiving the information the ability to ring a number and ask whatever they feel they need to.

You don’t have to be over 40 to get irritated at trying to ask a question of an online provider, of any service, who gives only a partial response via an FAQ.

Indeed, some of the best feedback I get with my new venture is how anyone who needs to can speak to someone immediately.

Somehow when you start getting positive feedback because you have someone on the end of a phone you know things in general have gone a bit too far the wrong way.


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  1. Anthony Hesse

    “Now let’s think about those who are allergic to the telephone, the generation of people who will ignore a call and text back “yes, what do you want?””

    That made me chuckle – Ed, you’ve obviously had dealings with my children (1 millennial and 2 generation Z’s)!


  2. Ding Dong

    Sad to see, but totally agree, younger staff are much more reluctant to make phone calls and “create/develop” that relationship which is crucial to a good business IMHO

  3. KByfield04

    We teach our staff that the comms tech we use is there to free them up to get on the phone more than ever. Emails etc are great for record keeping but a killer in time demands. Calls retain a personal relationship amd usually enable getting to the point much faster & more effectively.


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