New Technology Basics: Remember Your
The next wave of technical
tools and services are starting to become available for
implementation. The leaders are color printers that are
now cost effective at $.06 - $.08 per page, next generation
Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) that include e-mail,
camera and cell phones, wireless access for laptops, in-truck
message centers with printers, TCP phones that allow you
to run your business from any location that has internet
and (coming) the next generation of Windows (remember
the 32-bit buzz words, here comes the 64-bit buzz words).
All this technology will
make it easier to communicate, handle exceptions and bring
resources to address business issues and customer needs
in the most efficient method possible. The problem is
sometimes we get so involved with the tools and the power
or the technology that we forget the fundamental rule
of all successful businesses. Remember the “customer
pays the bills”.
How can you tell if your
company has drifted away from its beginnings where you
knew your customers, understood their needs and made sure
your employees kept focus on the solution without blame?
One symptom is that your
employees are so busy looking at reports and trends on
the computer they do not answer the phone in a timely
fashion. General rule is that the phone should be picked
up no later than the third ring, by anyone in the office.
It is nice to have touch tone call routing to your customer
gets to the right person, but it is another thing when
no one answers the phone.
Another symptom is that
everyone communicates with e-mail. This is great because
they don’t have to be face-to-face in meetings to
work together. An order person can e-mail someone in dispatch
to arrange for an emergency service, and include in the
e-mail all the necessary details. This allows the dispatcher
to read the e-mail and forward it electronically to someone
in the field or e-mail the order-taker that additional
information is required. What is great about e-mail is
that all the details can be kept and communicated from
the first time that they are taken, without the problem
of errors caused by repetition.
If e-mail is such a great
tool, what’s the problem? Remember that game ‘telephone”,
where one person says something and it is whispered from
person to person? When the last person reports what they
heard it is highly unlikely that the sentence is the same
as the original. When people talk, they not only communicate
with words, but facial gestures, tone of voice and body
emphasis that can make a big difference when describing
the problem. It’s important to not solely depend
upon e-mail but to listen between the sentences and compliment
the e-mail with a phone call if the tone of the message
is not clear.