Alternative methods of communication

Post

Advantages

  • Everyone can receive post.
  • Tangible items can be sent, eg parcels.

Disadvantages

  • It costs more to receive confirmation that the letter or parcel made it to its destination.
  • Post is slow when compared to email or fax.

Fax

Advantages

  • Fast - a hard copy is received by the recipient almost as soon as the fax is sent.
  • Tamper proof - the hard copy cannot be altered electronically, which is useful for legal documents.
  • A confirmation receipt can be requested showing that the fax was delivered successfully.

Disadvantages

  • Fax machines are usually shared in an office, the delivery receipt confirms it arrived successfully, but it could've been picked up by the wrong person.
  • The quality of faxed documents can sometimes make them difficult to read.
  • If the recipient's fax machine isn’t turned on or working then you cannot send the fax to them.

Video conferencing

Advantages

  • No need for people to travel for face-to-face meetings.
  • Effectively face-to-face meetings can take place between people dotted all over the world.

Disadvantages

  • Special hardware is required for video conferencing and everyone who wants to take part has to have compatible hardware.
  • The quality of the video depends on the quality of the hardware and the connection between the different sites, as the connection is usually made using the internet.

Telephone calls

Advantages

  • Instant response to whatever you say.
  • No special hardware required – one phone can call any other phone.
  • Voicemail can allow messages to be taken even when the phone isn't answered.

Disadvantages

  • May be difficult to get hold of someone on the phone (they may work in several offices or spend time outside the office).
  • Voicemail isn't always regularly checked.