Barefoot | Maximize Jun 03, 2014

In chaos lies opportunity….

When I was a young girl I was carefully led into the world of science, because clever young girls studies science.  The door to the typing class was firmly closed. Because only girls that had no ambition would learn to type.

Technology has turned that world upside down. Knowing how to use a keyboard is critical in my everyday work. Thankfully, for some unknown reason I unearthed my mother’s 1932 typing book and learned to type on my own when I was in my 20’S. That was probably the smartest thing I ever did.

I just read a blog post about the death of print which has inspired my thinking on technology. The confusion and challenge of technology was readily apparent in the recent conference I attended. Like many of the speakers, I see many gaps in the transition between print and digital – manual and technological. Part of the challenge is that that transition is not clean. We are using technology, but few companies are actually acknowledging the tremendous change needed to use technology effectively.

I am delighted by the amazing things digital can do – truly, it’s amazing.

BUT….

Too many people are not visualizing virtual in a personal or engaged environment.

One of our team had an awesome experience with an online order. First of all, the order got really messed up. So she emailed. And they emailed back – in real time with a real person. That small effort made the difference between “I am never shopping there again” to “Wow, they sent me a personal email and they understood my problem AND they had a solution for me.” The order was straightened out, the new package shipped and with it a very nice hand written note that said “We’re sorry.”

They used technology, but applied age old protocols: manners.

I get very excited about technology that can make your work easier.

BUT…

Too often the technology is put in place but the company doesn’t buy into the full package and the end result is almost the same thing as a file folder only now the folder is lingering in the cloud.

For instance, a company photo data base. I can’t tell you how many clients have moved their stash of organizational photos from a file folder in a desk drawer somewhere to a file folder on a desk top. Yeah, they are digital now, but they are still just jammed into a folder. With a little forethought, the photos can be tagged and stored in a photo data base and found INSTANTANEOUSLY. In fact, they can even be tagged by use and prevent using the same photo again and again. With a little up front work, the back end works incredibly well.

A data base – which runs almost everything we do today – is an amazing gift to the modern business.

BUT…

If it is not well executed it is a nightmare.

I could write a book on funny stories of how people manage their web site. One client had never set protocols to their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. When de-duped, we found over 40% of their files were duplicates (and triplicates). Basically, with every customer mailing they sent they spent more than $40,000 in excess because they had never cleaned their data base. The CRM seemed far more work than it was worth.

Smart companies build systems that simplify every day jobs so they can build stronger processes to work with their customers/donors in a more personal way.

Integration is much simpler when the company has built a virtual centre that brings all of their activities together.

BUT….

Integration is a huge struggle when the company still lives in a silo. As companies grow, it becomes more and more difficult to work as a collaborative unit. Communicating to a variety of audiences is challenging and demands careful attention to integration.

When I still used Bell as a supplier I couldn’t figure out why Bell sends me four bills. I asked a group of VP level execs in a random chat in an airport line one day. They looked sheepishly at one another and admitted that integration was a big challenge. You see the company was designed in silos: land lines, toll free, mobile, internet services (etc). As a small business, I needed to use several different products. When they called me, every month or so for a period of five years and asked if I had a web site, I joked that I would send the President a copy of Microsoft Access. Surely in the age of great CRM software, the sales person could have ticked the “yes” box under web site and seem somewhat informed when they talk to me. Then, when the next sales team started the process again they wouldn’t have to ask me the same question.

I just returned from a short trip to Vancouver. All morning I have been receiving emails on how my trip experience was. None personal. All designed to drop when the system tells it. None have been interesting enough to open. Engagement is tough – it actually takes thought.

AND…

Just when we were getting the hang of the computer… the smart phone took over.

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From The Blog:
In chaos lies opportunity….
title

With the naked simplicity of advertising,
we are committed to tell the truth
to people who need to know
in places they frequent
in ways that meet the client's goals.