A recent study by Japanese technology manufacturer Fujitsu found that 25% of retailers who had invested in technology found that the investment made it harder to connect with their customers. In the retail world, where technology behemoth Amazon is king, it’s a surprising statistic. But it really isn’t, once you stop to think about it.
Technology is something that literally sits between you and your customer. Whether it’s a phone, a cash register, or an online form, it makes that direct, face-to-face relationship a bit less direct. Businesses don’t use technology because it makes relationships stronger – we use them because they make it far more efficient for us to do business with our customers, vendors and co-workers, and that efficiency is appealing to every stakeholder in the relationship.
Despite all of the efficiency technology brings, it’s important to remember that small businesses can’t afford to lose the best parts of a business relationship – friendly service, knowledge and understanding of the customers’ needs, and easy accessibility to a live human being to address problems when they do arise. In fact, we believe these things are what separates WingSwept from other managed IT providers – as much as we love technology, we always make sure it doesn’t make us less friendly, responsive, or accessible to our customers.
The acceptance of technology by customers is based on mutual benefit – technology makes interaction cheaper for you and easier for them. Unfortunately, some companies become so focused on what technology can do to operational efficiency that they stop considering whether customers also receive a benefit from it. These companies install phone trees, outsource their technical support to another hemisphere, and try to encourage their customers to always interact through web forms.
Companies that do follow this path will lose customer relationships in the relentless pursuit of operational efficiency and are doomed to commoditization. Without the relationship benefits of a small business, they are forced to compete only on their price and speed of delivery. And, as so many small businesses have learned in the last decade, if you allow yourself to compete directly against Amazon, you’ll lose every time.
To learn how WingSwept will help you balance technology with customer focus, call us at 919-779-0954 or email us at Team_WingSwept@WingSwept.com and ask about our Managed Services offering.