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Jemima
10-4-11, 8:09pm
I have just contacted a tree service that has a nice website and provides email addresses not only for the company in general but for a number of specific individuals and services, such as a free estimate. So, phone-hater that I am, I emailed and described in detail what I would like done. In return, I got an email asking for my phone number, which just made me cringe and was not a required item on their website form. I not only have a pathological dislike of phones, neither my answering machine for the landline nor my TracPhone voicemail is working at the moment and I'm too busy to straighten out the problems right now. I never answer the phones anyway.

My choices are:

1) Ignore this email and get somebody else, because there were two other vendors in my area on Angie's List which were also highly recommended;

2) Reply that there is no way to reach me by phone at the present time without explaining why;

3) Reply by email and vent my frustrations by getting really snotty and pointing out that neither the juniper bushes nor the evergreen tree are growing inside my house, so why don't they just come over and take a look whenever it's convenient?

I'm also uneasy about this company because they turned out to be much larger than I expected for the tiny town where they are located. They have a sales staff, which to me translates into higher prices. I also think people who depend on phones for communication are living in Jurassic Park and generally do not get along with them.

Psychoanalytic advice with regard to my intense dislike of phones is useless. Other than that, what would you do?

Moderators, please feel free to move this to another topic.

redfox
10-4-11, 8:10pm
Invite them out, via email, to a cuppa coffee & and an in-person estimate.

creaker
10-4-11, 8:52pm
867-5309 :-) It's universally not assigned because of the song so it's a good one to hand out.

If you want to do business with them, let them know your phone situation via email and see what happens. I do computer administration work and while we have email and instant messaging, sometimes I'd rather talk on the phone because it's sometimes much faster to nail down details that way rather than going back and forth a bunch of times in email. They may be thinking the same way, but might be just fine doing it via email if that's your preference.

I had some tree work done this year. Yelp was a good resource.

redfox
10-4-11, 10:41pm
Incidentally, what is the phone hate thing about? That has always confounded me...

Acorn
10-5-11, 2:26am
I just let people know it's hard to reach me by phone and it's better to email me. It usually works. I can't stand phone communication either. Probably partially because I don't have very good hearing, but I also find phone calls a bit jarring.

herbgeek
10-5-11, 4:20am
I hate talking on the phone, particularly with contractors. I don't think quickly on my feet, and prefer to use email where I can carefully construct my question and mull my answers. I feel I bungle my words on the phone, then have to go back and explain that I didn't mean what came out of my mouth, I actually meant this other thing. I also don't like the sales tactic of high pressure sometimes used in person, its easier to say no or ignore in email.

I also hate calling friends, but don't mind receiving phone calls from them. I'm concerned that I'm catching them at a bad time, but they are too polite to say so. I know when they are reading the email from me, its at a time convenient to THEM. My friends all have jobs, kids and multiple other obligations so I hate to interrupt. And cell phones sometimes put awkward pauses in there, making the conversation difficult anyways. Rather do that in person.

Anne Lee
10-5-11, 10:47am
People who struggle with reading, writing and/or spelling prefer phone because they capture details better by hearing than by reading. I know I do.

Email them back and simply state that it's easiest to reach you by email.

treehugger
10-5-11, 11:13am
I'm not going to try to convince you to use the phone (I don't really like talking on the phone either), but I do think you need to recognize that many businesses still prefer that method for communication. So you will need to make sure to explain that you will only conduct business with them by email. They can't be expected to read your mind or read between the lines of your emails.

Therefore, I don't think any of your 3 choices are likely to produce your desired results and I think you actually do have more choices than that.

Good luck getting your estimates,

Kara

Jemima
10-5-11, 7:36pm
867-5309 :-) It's universally not assigned because of the song so it's a good one to hand out.

If you want to do business with them, let them know your phone situation via email and see what happens. I do computer administration work and while we have email and instant messaging, sometimes I'd rather talk on the phone because it's sometimes much faster to nail down details that way rather than going back and forth a bunch of times in email. They may be thinking the same way, but might be just fine doing it via email if that's your preference.

I had some tree work done this year. Yelp was a good resource.

Thank you for that number, Creaker. I have one around here somewhere that spells out 'non-publish', but I forgot where I put it.

I find that doing business by phone means a lot of going back and forth, wasting time playing telephone tag, especially with small contractors who work out of their homes. There was a time when emails got lost now and then back in the early days of the Internet, but I think it's nearly 100% reliable now. I've also had people leave messages from cell phones that were out of range or from just plain cheap phones that were so garbled I couldn't figured out who called or what they said.

The most recent was a call from some woman in the security department of American Express who left a message regarding identity theft. Her phone crackled and faded in and out, but I was able to make out her phone number and called her back, leaving a message that I couldn't understand her message, and she never called back, leaving me to worry for several days thereafter. It was scary because AmEx and I had just recently closed my credit card account by mutual agreement because I hadn't used it in five years, but they assured me I could reopen it any time I wished. This call made me break into a sweat because I immediately thought someone had, in fact, reopened it posing as me.

I can understand wanting to use the phone when you're helping someone with a computer problem. I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with the Help Desk during my previous career as an auditor, from which, thank God, I'm now retired. Legitimate business calls have never bothered me, it's the nitwit stuff: wrong numbers, pushy salespeople, unintelligible messages, people who are bored and just want to chit-chat at length at their convenience, et cetera.

Thanks again. Your empathetic response is greatly appreciated.

Jemima
10-5-11, 7:51pm
Apparently someone at the tree service company thinks the same way I do, i.e., never mind the phone number, and full speed ahead.

I went out early this morning to mail a birthday card to a friend in Florida, ran a few errands on the way back, and found an estimate tucked into my front door when I got home. It's about half what I expected and I only have to clear up a few minor points with them, so I'll be faxing the contract back tonight for tweaking and we'll be ready to roll. This kind of fast action impressed me well.

I must put in a plug for Angie's List while I'm at it. The veterinary hospital I've been using has become unsatisfactory over the past few years, so I looked up others in my area and came up with the cat doctors of my dreams. They're a little farther away, but they offer really good boarding services, which the current vet does not, and overall got rave reviews. I've only been a member of Angie's for two days and I've already gotten my money's worth.

Lainey
10-6-11, 7:24pm
Incidentally, what is the phone hate thing about? That has always confounded me...

For me it's not a 'hate' but a dislike. A phone call is akin to someone barging into your living room and demanding to speak to you RIGHT NOW vs. an e-mail being like a note slipped under your front door saying "contact me when you have a moment."

jp1
10-6-11, 7:43pm
867-5309 :-) It's universally not assigned because of the song so it's a good one to hand out.



Now this would have been ROFL hysterical if Jennipurr had posted the questions... :-)

jp1
10-6-11, 7:48pm
I'm another phone hater after 3 years in a job spent almost entirely on the phone. Like others have said I'd go with "i'm difficult to reach by phone" (it's true since I don't pick up unless I know who it is and want to talk to them) and if they won't accomodate try someone else.

When we moved across the country 3 years ago I started looking online for apartment insurance. I'd specified on all the sites that I preferred email communication. Several insurance agents left me voicemails but one sent me an email quote within 10 minutes of my visit to the esurance.com website. It seemed reasonable so I bound coverage with them that day, again online, and they emailed back the confirmation binder within an hour. (I've never spoken to them, ever.) I have no idea what the other agents would've quoted but they lost my business by not sending email as I had requested.

granola19
10-6-11, 9:30pm
I am glad your problem was resolved but I just wanted to add that many local businesses prefer to talk to their customers by phone simply to verify that they are dealing with a real person and not being spammed or scammed.

Jemima
10-7-11, 2:57pm
I just let people know it's hard to reach me by phone and it's better to email me. It usually works. I can't stand phone communication either. Probably partially because I don't have very good hearing, but I also find phone calls a bit jarring.

The "jar" factor is an important part of it for me as well. I have very sensitive hearing and startle easily, so a ringing phone makes me jump. God help me if I'm on a ladder with a long, wet piece of wallpaper in my hands. Having a phone ring at a time like that is downright dangerous.

Jemima
10-7-11, 3:04pm
For me it's not a 'hate' but a dislike. A phone call is akin to someone barging into your living room and demanding to speak to you RIGHT NOW vs. an e-mail being like a note slipped under your front door saying "contact me when you have a moment."

My feelings exactly! My home is my sanctuary and I get really P.O.'ed when someone just has to talk to me this very minute, no doubt for something THEY want and for which THEY cannot wait. T.S. >:(

Jemima
10-7-11, 3:09pm
When we moved across the country 3 years ago I started looking online for apartment insurance. I'd specified on all the sites that I preferred email communication. Several insurance agents left me voicemails but one sent me an email quote within 10 minutes of my visit to the esurance.com website. It seemed reasonable so I bound coverage with them that day, again online, and they emailed back the confirmation binder within an hour. (I've never spoken to them, ever.) I have no idea what the other agents would've quoted but they lost my business by not sending email as I had requested.

That's just what I would have done. Businesses just have to be clear on the point that I'm the customer and my wishes are paramount in any transaction. If they don't get that, I don't want to do business with them.

Stella
10-7-11, 3:27pm
I'm glad it worked out. I'm a phone hater too. I think in my case it has a lot to do with having a lot of small children. Kids get naughty when parents are on the phone. :) Another part of it is as others have said, I like to have time to construct my thoughts and respond when I have time.

Mrs-M
10-10-11, 7:33am
Count me in as another telephone hater, too! However, given the choice between using email or the telephone, I'd choose the phone.

Jemima
10-10-11, 3:30pm
I am glad your problem was resolved but I just wanted to add that many local businesses prefer to talk to their customers by phone simply to verify that they are dealing with a real person and not being spammed or scammed.

The heck with businesses that put their preferences before the customer's preference. I will no doubt find them abrasive in many more ways in the future.

pcooley
11-2-11, 5:35pm
867-5309, One man tries to call that number for every area code in the U.S. with various results: http://www.danstheman.com/Jenny.htm

Simplemind
11-3-11, 12:34am
Count me as another phone hater.I hate phones like cats hate vacuum cleaners. Most saavy businesses with a website will court your business either way. I have been asked for a number and I have given my home number and what hours to call. I will then get questioned about a cell number. I carry one for MY convenience in an emergency. I don't have conversations on it. The phone is a necessary evil at work. When I leave it is the last form of communication I want to use. Give me e-mail or a face to face.
I have a whole other rant on people being addicted to their cell phones and expecting others to be available 24/7..............

Rogar
11-3-11, 5:39am
I dislike using the phone also. Sometimes when I'm out and look around at people glued to their cell phones, I think, why do people torture themselves like that.

I have to say that back in my work days, when there were issues that could be confrontatioanal there was a tendancy for folks to fire off emails than actually face someone and discuss things. I can recall getting these scorching emails from people who never have the fortitude to say similar things in person. Often the first thing I would do after getting one of these is pick up the phone and call the person. There are times when email just isn't the right way.

Another Angies list fan. I may only use it once or twice a year, but it has saved me hundreds of dollars.

Jemima
12-3-11, 10:56pm
I find it very funny that my landline has been dead for several weeks. It apparently knows it isn't welcome and rolled over and died. I only found out because I tried to send a fax a few days ago and kept getting a "no dial tone" error message. I have a repair appointment this coming Thursday, but I may postpone it. :D:~)

snowbirdpat
12-4-11, 7:49am
I am in the group insurance/investment business and deal a lot with plan administrators and insurance carriers. Lately, I sent an email asking my key contacts what was their contact preference. To a tee, they said email. Phone calls are not convenient when further research is required and many people don't like to be interrupted when they are working on something. When I first started this job, I would phone someone for something, get their voicemail, leave a message and then get an email reply to my question, sometimes 10 minutes later. I got the hint. On a personal note, I don't have long phone conversations on the phone because you always end up talking at the same time, or pausing at the same time. Usually I just use the phone as a tool.

Jemima
12-4-11, 8:38pm
Usually I just use the phone as a tool.

I think that's how it should be used. My calls are mostly limited to making medical appointments or emergency calls, such as reporting an intoxicated driver. If I had living relatives I wouldn't mind an occasional call to keep in touch, but it seems so many people just mindlessly pick up the phone and call anybody and everybody about trivial stuff without thinking that they might be inconveniencing someone or just plain scaring them if they happen to be waiting to hear about a sick relative or friend. Twice when I was waiting for one of those life-or-death calls from the veterinarian, some a$$ of a telemarketer called first. It's amazing what you can say to another person under the influence of adrenalin.

ApatheticNoMore
12-5-11, 12:38pm
I find it very funny that my landline has been dead for several weeks. It apparently knows it isn't welcome and rolled over and died.

Yea, they know we hate them. I have all kinds of trouble with landlines, bad connections, staticy, dying quickly (even brand new ones) etc.. Cells tend to die too, but that's because I keep buying cheap prepaid ones (you would think I would learn eventually). They KNOW we hate them :0!

DuraMater
12-10-11, 6:36am
I hate phones. I do border on phobic about it and won't answer if I don't recognize the number. Email, IM'ing for real-time communication, ichat, you name it. Anything but phone please!!! Folks have learned this at work too. Email or come see me - that is the way to go.