Do you leave voicemail after voicemail trying to reach your tenants to no avail? Do you email your leads to set up showings and get nothing but the cold shoulder in return? The good news is, it’s not you; it’s your methods.
We decided to channel our inner college student, do a little research and find out why exactly students just can’t answer an email or pick up their phones. Spoiler alert: they can, they just don’t want to. And here’s why:
Calling Just Isn’t What It Used To Be
Before the invention of the text message, telephones—landlines in particular—were the dominant form of communication. But the winds of change are blowing, bringing with them an influx of empty rings and missed calls. Don’t get us wrong; Alexander Graham Bell was a genius, and the ability to call someone was an immediate game changer. For one, it’s a heck of a lot faster than post cards or carrier pigeons. However, at the turn of the digital age, or right when Millennials made their debut, new technologies emerged that are changing the way we should be thinking about communication.
No one has embraced these new technologies more than millennials, a generation which likely makes up the majority of your client base. According to a recent survey by OpenMarket, when given the choice between being able only to text versus call on their mobile phone, a whopping 75 percent of millennials chose texting over talking. Just like Blockbuster made way for the behemoth that is Netflix, it seems as though students and millennials are trading phone calls and voicemails for a more convenient form of communicating: the text message. But why do students prefer texting so much? Let’s break it down.
Texting Creates A Paper Trail
As human beings, we tend to have a lot on our minds. Unlike a phone call, when someone tells you something important via text, you’re able to revisit your conversation and have written confirmation of exactly what was said. No more worrying about grabbing a pen and jotting things down on your hands. If you schedule a showing via text, students will automatically have a record of what was said, resulting in less worry for you that they’ll forget and stand you up.
Say goodbye to word vomit and awkward silence. Whereas phone calls put people on the spot, texting is a lot less confrontational. You’re not applying unnecessary pressure when you send a text message. Rather, you’re giving the recipient time to mull it over and formulate a response that works for them. In other words, though you may have started the exchange, the student can control the response.
Even further, texting is less formal and more casual. If you’re a landlord, chances are your students view you as an authority figure. Shooting them a text now and then can take the edge off your relationship, making you appear more approachable. If they don’t feel threatened, students are more likely to respond.
Everyone Hates Voicemail
Do you know what students dislike about phone calls more than anything? Voicemails. Most voicemails are from businesses, telemarketers or people individuals are actively pushing off. They’re awkward to leave, and people are increasingly likely to let them sit in their inbox to collect virtual dust.
According to Vonage, the Internet-based phone company most known for their “woo-hoo-woo-hoo-hoo” jingle in the early 2000’s, the number of voicemail messages left on user accounts in 2012 dropped 8% from the year before, while the number of people who retrieved their messages fell 14%. And that was five years ago! People just don’t respond well to voicemails anymore, and leaving them could prove to be a pointless pursuit.
It Works For Their Schedule
Students’ activities tend to vary from day to day, which doesn’t always allow for the luxury of answering or scheduling a phone call. If you call a student on a weekday during business hours, there is a good chance they’ll be in class and your call will be ignored. Sending a text message, on the other hand, allows students to revisit your message and respond when they have a free minute. It lets them control the communication, and this freedom is invaluable for people with hectic schedules.
Email Isn’t Effective, Either
We know what you’re thinking: “But I email my students, isn’t that the same concept?” Not quite. On average, only about 20 percent of all emails sent are ever opened. Similarly, the average person only checks their emails about 20 minutes per day, making the likelihood of an immediate response meager at best.
The window of opportunity to receive a response from a text message, on the other hand, is much larger. On average, students have their cell phones on a staggering 16 hours a day. There’s a 99 percent chance—literally—that if you send a text message, the recipient will open it. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Still not convinced? Try it for yourself. Drop the call, ditch your email and start texting your students. They might actually respond.