Digital communication isn’t always the best form of long distance communication. Sometimes a simple phone call can solve your issue.

Understanding when it’s appropriate to call your points of contact and when it’s more effective to email them can help you build stronger B2B relationships. But how do you know when to do which?

If you’re facing this dilemma, these guidelines can help.

When Should I Email My Contacts?

In this digital age, many businessmen and women prefer to reach out to clients via email. This method is most effective for the following situations:

To Answer a Simple Question

When your contact has a question on behalf of your client that does not require an elaborate response, shooting a quick email to your contact is a much more efficient use of your time.

To Send Meeting Notes

After a conference call, it’s much easier to type up an outline of the meeting minutes and email it to your contact and others who were on the call.

To Confirm Project Status

It’s always helpful to have a written record of progress on any project. Electronic progress reports are much more professional than verbal updates, as many clients prefer to visualize progress especially through the use of charts and graphs. Written progress reports are also ideal for record-keeping purposes.

Sending emails is useful for answering easy questions and delivering documents to your contacts, but sometimes picking up the phone is a more suitable option.

When Should I Call My Contacts?

Telephone calls are often more appropriate for these situations:

When Delivering Bad News

Although it’s not the bearer’s preferred method for delivering bad news, informing your contact of less-than-satisfying results is best done over the phone. Verbally informing your contact of statistics such as a drop in website traffic or a rise in your client’s unsubscribe rate demonstrates your sincere concern for your client’s success.

If an Explanation Requires More Than 56 Sentences

In some cases, a client may ask a question that requires a lengthy response. Instead of wasting your time compiling a longwinded email that your contact may not have time to read, giving him/her a call may resolve the issue in a more timely fashion.

If Your Contact has Not Responded to Your First Two Emails

We often spend approximately 28% of our day responding to emails. If you’ve sent your contact at least two emails on a particular topic and still have not received a response, it may be time for a telephone call. Your contact may not check email as regularly as you, or perhaps your emails are being delivered to your contact’s junk mailbox.

If Your Contacts Prefer Phone Calls

Some people prefer phone calls rather than more modern electronic forms of communication. They feel more comfortable knowing who they are talking to and knowing they are receiving instant responses. It may not be your communication method of choice, but to maintain healthy client-business relationships, you should always initially reach out to them using the method with which they are most comfortable.

At Least Once a Month

Even if it’s not your contact’s preferred method of communication, it’s good practice to make this personal connection with your contact on a monthly basis. Taking the initiative to make a simple phone call can help build rapport with your contact, as the telephone is considered a more personal outlet today.

When Speaking to Your Contact’s Manager

It’s important to reach out to your contact’s supervisor or manager at least once a quarter to ensure all parties are on the same page, to make sure his/her supervisor is receiving the information your client needs in order to maintain a profitable B2B relationship. Confirm that your services are meeting your client’s internal goals and that the decision makers understand the value of those services. Knowing whether more than one layer of the company is pleased with your work will help you mold your performance to better suit your client’s needs.

If Your Contact has Multiple Questions in a Short Period of Time

If your contact is looking for an immediate response to a lengthy list of questions, making a phone call may be the better option. Your contact may have a greater concern that he/she would rather not address via email, and it’s your responsibility to make your contact as comfortable as possible with you and the services your team provides.

In addition, if your contact is sending you multiple emails regularly that each contain one or two questions, it may be more conducive for you to pick up the phone. You may be able to cover all of those questions in one short call.

If You Choose to Retain and Grow an Account

When gaining a new client, it’s important to be cautious with your initial call. Then, giving your contact a call once in a while helps you develop a stronger professional relationship with your contact and client. Addressing their needs over the phone demonstrates your compassion and your desire to see your client succeed.

Recognizing when to email and when to call your contacts is crucial to developing your client relationships. Let go of the urge to constantly send emails and chat via project management platforms and the like—pick up the phone to help improve your client retention and account growth.