As a general rule, you’d like to get back to your clients when they have questions. This is particularly important at the early stages, when they aren’t yet your clients. The thing is that communication is highly specialized, with preferences that tend to run along generational lines. If you talk to a baby boomer like a Zoomer, there’s going to be a lot lost in translation. But the same is true for the other way around. Here are a few observed communication preferences that your contracting business can use to get your message across.
At the oldest, members of generation Z are in their early 20s. They have never known a time when internet was not freely accessible, and only the oldest of them can easily remember a world without smartphones. People in this generation are extremely adept at using technology and will often expect businesses to be able to respond in kind. This doesn’t mean that they prefer not to have face-to-face contact where appropriate, however. Rather, they prefer a fluid set of options that they can indicate based on the type of communication. For example, they’re very familiar with email but would probably prefer a text message for timely communications.
Millennials, currently in their 20s and 30s, may have different communication preferences based on where they sit in that range. Given that the median age for a construction worker is late 30s or early 40s, you may fit in this category yourself. Research indicates that Millennials prefer to avoid phone conversations where possible. Many people in this generation say that they don’t answer calls unless they know the person who is calling. While this doesn’t apply to everybody necessarily, it does mean that you’re more likely to reach people in this generation by text or email.
Generation X comprises people who are in their 40s up to their mid to late 50s. Given the rise of digital technology in the 1990s, you may notice an abrupt shift in preferences between younger generation X and older generation X. For example, people in their 40s may be equally adept at using text messages and email. They’re probably also happy to accept phone calls, but somewhat less likely than their older cohorts. By comparison, older members of generation X may be more comfortable with emails than text messages. As they head toward retirement, they may be unfamiliar with other types of communication or collaboration software.
Baby boomers are more likely to have the most traditional communication preferences of any age group you’re likely to encounter. This group ranges from their late 50s to their mid-70s. They grew up in a time when television was relatively new technology, to say nothing of computers and smartphones. They may own a smartphone, but they are much less likely to use it for functions beyond making phone calls and taking pictures. They would often prefer to receive a phone call than an email, although they can usually manage either. They may be able to send and receive text messages, but it would be wise to ask first.
Tips for Good Communication
Ultimately, the best businesses will ask clients about their communication preferences and then stick with it throughout the transaction. No one in any generation likes to be classified based on the highlights of their age group, especially when it’s used to mock them. You’ll find teenagers who love to make and receive phone calls, and baby boomers who love all the latest technology. Your best bet is to offer a variety of options, and make sure that you can operate within that framework.
Communication is one of the best soft skills you can develop for your business. If you find that you’re struggling to communicate with your clients, try a new method and you’ll usually notice an improvement. For more information about running a successful contracting business, contact CSLS today!