Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Phone’s Ringing. Anyone Know How to Work It?

Last week’s post, Time for a Technology Timeout? prompted a fair amount of feedback. Not everyone agreed with us, but I was pleased to learn I’m not the only one who takes a weekly “tech fast.”

Tim Voorhees, Principal Partner at the Costa Mesa, California-based estate planning firm Matsen Voorhees Mintz LLP told me he puts away his phone and computer from sundown on Saturday until sundown on Sunday.  “People may wonder if I am an orthodox [religious observer], but there is wisdom in the 4th Commandment,” quipped Voorhees. 
Tom Greve, Business Development Manager at B2B media company EMS World wondered: “Are we losing the art of conversation since young professionals can't keep their head up long enough to look you in the eye?”

Research suggests the trend isn’t likely to reverse any time soon (more on that in a minute). “Observe a group of teens or Tweens at the mall and every one of them has a phone in their hand, “lamented Greve. “At all times, they fear they might miss a text or a tweet or a snapchat etc. These are tomorrow's leaders and it scares me a bit.”

According to the GfK MRI Fall 2016 Survey of the American Consumer® , more than half of the 24,000 adults surveyed (52%) live in households that have cellphones but, no landline telephones—twice as many as in 2010.

As you might expect, researchers Millennials (born from 1977 to 1994) most likely to be living in cellphone-only households-- 71 percent, up from 47 percent in 2010. But, cellphone-only homes are increasingly common among all age groups:

·         More than half (55%) of homes headed by Generation Xers (those born 1965 to 1976) are cellphone-only, the report said.
·         40 percent of households headed by Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) are now cellphone only.
·         Even for senior citizens (age 65+) cellphone-only households quadrupled over the past six years, to 23 from 6 percent in 2010.
Speaking of polls, *** Don’t forget to take our latest InstaPoll about podcasting. See how you stack up to your peers with just one question.

Your clients—and children of clients—are increasingly on the go and using mobile devices not only to converse, but to access information and resources about their finances. Of course you want to make your website, blog, newsletter and other resources mobile responsive, but you can’t forget about the most effective communication channel of all—face to face.
Cecil Nazareth, CPA, principal of Nazareth Partners and a professor of accounting and finance at Fordham University is the father of two 20-somethings. He is also surrounded by Millennials at work and on campus. “Every student, client or person I interact with--I want to see them face to face,” said Nazareth. Even in today’s tech-dominated era, Nazareth said, “You need to look people in the eyes. What are their issues? What are their pain points? What are they uncomfortable with? It’s much more comfortable for most people when you’re face to face.”

Nazareth is a specialist in foreign bank account reporting. “It’s very complex with lots of sensitive information,” he said. “They often have issues. They’re not sure if they’ve complied with the law. You want to meet them in person and see what guidance you can give them in an environment that makes them comfortable talking and sharing information with you.”

Many professionals still believe that face to face conversation cannot be replicated via phone calls, emails or Skype. “It’s not just about the numbers,” said Nazareth. “You want to see people in person and see if they have integrity. You want to make sure they’re genuine and complying with the law.” That’s not a hang-up. That’s good business.
Tell us what you think.


TAGS: GfK MRI, Tom Greve, Tim Voorhees, Cecil Nazareth, cellphone only households

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