I'll take the contrary answer on this: they may be wanting to avoid long feedback cycles.
There's a very good reason to debug on the phone - it gives immediate feedback. Now, maybe you're right. They'll send the error message, you'll construct a single email reply, and they'll be able to take your email and solve their entire problem.
Or, it might work out like this:
- Email #1: Here's what my problem is
- Email #2: - - - Oh, you need to do X and Y.
- Email #3: I did those already, and it didn't work
- Email #4: - - - Did you remember to Z?
- Email #5: How do I do that?
- Email #6: - - - First go to your settings, click this, and then make sure this is checked.
- Email #7: I tried doing that, but that checkbox doesn't appear in step 3.
- Email #8: - - - Hang on. What version are you running?
- ... etc, etc, etc
Not only this, but for every single email, both of you have to stop whatever you were working on, change mental gears, work on this specific problem for 5 minutes, stop, and then change mental gears back to whatever you were working on to begin with.
I've been in that spot, and this kills productivity more than anything else I've ever seen. What could be a quick 5 minute task if done in tandem becomes a tedious, afternoon-killing endeavor. It's not like you can get in-the-zone with programming when you have to stop coding every 10 minutes to do an email reply!
Don't treat the phone as the issue; I can tell you, it's not!
Your actual problem is two things: the expectation of availability and the expectation of throughput
Expectation of Availability. This one is kinda on you. When someone sends you a chat, and you reply immediately, you're sending a message: "I'm available right now to help solve your problem."
You need to either not answer the chat until you can devote time to the problem, or signal your actual availability in the reply, with something like:
- "Sorry, in a meeting, can't really work on anything at the moment."
- "Trying to get the Floobar issue resolved. Can I get back to you at 2?"
- "I'm about the leave for lunch. Is it okay if we pick this up at 1?"
Expectation of Throughput. Right now, the expectation is: LawfulNeutral is going to resolve your issue immediately when contacted. Well, no - that's bad for you. Because if someone has a problem that's lower in priority than what you're working on, you shouldn't stop what you're working on.
My guess is, that's the issue you're trying to resolve with the email approach. Because if they email you something, you've got the information and can prioritize it to address it when it's appropriate. You can't exactly do that if you're doing a 30 minute phone call.
But here's the thing: you can take a phone call, and then a few minutes in, say: "Okay, can you go ahead and create a support ticket/email? I'm working on XYZ right now and I can't get to this right now." In other words, get a sense of priority, and then go from there.
TL;DR - Don't blame the phone. It's not the problem here. It's the interruption of your workflow, and you can resolve that in other ways than refusing to communicate via phone calls.