A call is a call-is-a-call-is-a-call? but no, to some people it’s not just a call. It depends on the platform from which the call is made. Technological innovations has given people more options to get in touch. More than a decade ago people had limited and expensive ways of communicating. Voice calls and Short Messages Services (SMS) were the most popular methods of keeping in touch. In fact, making calls was so expensive for many people to an extent that former Vodacom employee Nkosana Makate saw the need to invent “Please Call Me”, an invention that generated billions of Rands in revenue for Vodacom, but that’s a topic for another day.

The emergence of 3G technology gave us more options to communicate. We can now make voice calls over the internet also known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), send instant messages (IM) and do video calls. Companies such as Apple, Google and Skype became dominant players in the VoIP space. Today we have WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, amongst others also playing a formidable role in how we communicate.

All of these platforms provide us with great benefits; firstly it is cheaper to make calls on compared to traditional forms of making calls. Secondly, you don’t need to be connected to a specific network service provider to use and make a call. You can be connected to any Wifi network and still be able to communicate with your loved ones. Lastly, it is convenient to use, you can make voice calls, video calls and send instant messages on the same platform.

If the platforms offer such awesome benefits, the question remains… why is it that some people feel offended when you call them via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, but would be happy if you call them with your airtime and/or Apple’s FaceTime. The simple and short answer is – the brand. I’ve had people saying that when I call them via WhatsApp it means I don’t take them serious because it is supposedly “free”. Therefore, it means that I don’t value them as much, however on the same token the very same person would be happy to receive a FaceTime call from me. The other day one of my mentors asked me if I ever buy airtime and said to me, he hopes that I don’t call clients with WhatsApp call because I always call him via WhatsApp. How is it that a FaceTime call would be more valuable than a WhatsApp call as both platforms use the same technology – VoIP. Well… FaceTime is a product of Apple – a powerful brand that is known for being exclusive and people loooove exclusivity. Because there are fewer people who use Apple products than other mobile phone manufacturers, Apple users feel special when they connect on Apple to Apple platforms.

On the other hand, some people raise the issue of the quality of WhatsApp’s voice call. They say WhatsApp call usually buffers or sometimes you can’t hear the other person at all. As with the “normal” call, if you are not in an area that has good signal you are bound to experience issues with the quality of the call.

In my view, it shouldn’t matter whether someone calls you via WhatsApp, FaceTime or Facebook because after-all it’s just a call.

Do you like making WhatsApp calls? Or do you know someone who hates it when you call them via WhatsApp? Leave your comments below.

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Thokozani Patrick Mahlangu

Thokozani Mahlangu is an internationally certified digital marketing professional and an Mcom Business Management graduate from the University of Johannesburg. He is the Chief Brand Creator of Pat onBrands and Pat onFitness- a fitness movement through which organizes weekly runs under the banner #RunWithPat.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. I used to hate WhatsApp calls at some point but after a few upgrades of the app the WhatsApp call became better,with less connection issues and it’s cheaper than a regular call,I still get to say what I would have said on a regular call so to me its makes more sense to use the WhatsApp call then a regular call

  2. I have found Whatsapp calls to be very effective for me. I can talk to family and friends for longer at a cheaper rate. I would highly recommend them for personal and not business calls. With regards to the quality of the call, it hasn’t given me a problem for the last 6 months of using it.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Why don’t you recommend it for business?

    2. The problem is that WhatsApp and Facebook don’t have the best brand image yet when it comes to that.

      And the reason is that 1. Facebook image, 2. Technology is still too dependent on infrastructure and, at least in SA it’s too soon to be 1:1 with airtime calls

  3. I heard there’s a rare update for WhatsApp that only a few peopl have received, giving to the the long-awaited group video calling feature. But it’s a good initiative. It will definitely cause abusiness disruption for apps like Skype abd ither more.

  4. A call is a call, is a call indeed however some calls are more “important” than others.
    Firstly, great blog/article!

    I rarely call using whats app call however often receive them. Since the invention there have been greater interference’s than non. I have had random quiet moments, break’s in the call and often conversations cut short. When within the same location “normal” calls are perfectly smooth and so would my WiFi connections to any other platform. Personally it gets irritating to have breaks in conversation and takes longer to get the point across compared to text or voice note/recording.

    With regards to business, I have always taken “normal” calls and email as the immediate form of formal communication and whats app calls seem unprofessional with the holistic platform of whats app seemingly being unprofessional. This however I say depending on the line of business and work one is on, i.e) Corporate vs non corporate work.

  5. Personally i used to have an issue with watsapp calls for the exact reasons you mentioned above, however i have come to realise that it really does not have to matter that much. Whichever way a person gets in touch with you, you still have the same conversation and interact in the same way you would via a “normal” call also saving immensely while at it.

    However i suppose at the end of the day its a personal choice.

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