On-Line Business

Sometimes one feels like they are in a world gone mad.

With the explosion of ebusiness, a lot of companies seem to be under the absolutely ludicrous impression that everyone is always on-line, and wishes to conduct all their business that way. Some twenty-something teckie who is in love with the idea of technology has convinced management that the only way to do business is on-line, and it will solve all their problems. There are a terrifying number of airlines, shops, banks and other service companies who appear to have forgotten why they were in business in the first place. In a word, giving SERVICE to their CLIENTS.

Do they really expect the silver-haired octogenarian to conduct her business on-line? The infirmed? To book airline tickets, do their banking, and deal with problems by accessing a computer? As some of the modern telephones are intimidating enough, never mind being told by a recorded voice that if you have a problem, ‘you can contact us on line at ‘ www.noservice.com’ or ‘we’re too important to speak to you on the telephone.com’ or ‘we don’t care about you.com’ and being incapable of actually finding a human being to speak to.

Computers are a truly wonderful creation, I’ve spent most of my career working in the computer industry, and am enthralled by the level of imagination in the field. From voice recognition, 3D animation, robotics , aircraft simulators for pilot training, complete with cockpits which actually move, microscopic surgery, and artificial limbs, the uses of technology are advancing daily, and most of it at the click of a mouse. However, companies must understand that not everyone wishes to live through the use of technology, nor does everyone think with the logic of a computer. Some people are visual, some auditory, others tactile, some mathematical, and others just plain lonely. Never underestimate the value of a live human voice. No automated system can ever replace the sound of the words,
‘can I help you with something? Is everything ok?”

Although I work in the industry, and am extremely savvy to the uses of technology, as it happens I am also someone who does NOT wish to conduct my personal business on-line. And it is interesting to note, that there a great number of people like myself, who have decided that if a company does not wish to speak with me in person in order to obtain my custom, then I will probably not be doing business with them.

So, next time you decide to automate a customer service function, try asking the clients what they think about the idea first.

Clients pay your salary and your rent. They should have a voice. The old expression ‘money talks and money walks’ should be remembered. Do something original.

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