21 July 2006


Everyone has to communicate in order to survive. If the person is deaf, there is fingerspelling to help the deaf reach out beyond their borders. If blind, there is Braille system and Moon system to help them read. When there is a will, there is a way. Nobody won't be able to communicate with others unless the person intentionally isolates himself or herself from the world.

Different generations use different tools to communicate. 40s use phone and email. 30s-40s use IM in addition to phone and email. For 30s or younger, they use SMS, IM, phone and email. SMS or Short Messaging Service has become a common communication channel, and so is IM or Instant Messaging for the younger generation.

However, SMS and email are not real time communications but rather wait-and-see. The receiver can either think twice before replying, or simply ignore without replying. Although both methods give more time for both the sender and the receiver to come up with the perfect message, it may not necessarily generate positive touchpoint experience, particularly SMS.

In Hong Kong, phone, email and IM are basically free communications. For phone, the user pays a monthly flat charge, and then he or she can make unlimited local phone calls. Nobody has to worry about the phone quota. For email and IM, what the user needs is a PC and IM software, which can be downloaded for free online. But for SMS, besides the monthly charge for a fixed number of Intra SMS, the user has to incur costs for additional SMS above the quota, and also costs of each Inter SMS. SMS is more expensive when compared with other communication channels.

Interestingly enough, some people prefer to send SMS rather than to call. This is not rational. Making a phone call basically is free of charge, but sending a SMS is charged on a pay-per-use basis. Why people prefer a deliverable that costs money to another deliverable which delivers the same result but at zero cost?

It is all about the experience of waiting to know...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why people like to use sms to experience the "waiting" even though it's not free service?