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High Tech, High Touch

It’s a Winning Combination

No one I know would dispute the benefits technology—specifically the computer—has had on every aspect of our lives. It has put information at our fingertips and allowed us to communicate with others whenever and wherever we happen to be. Technology also has allowed businesses—no matter their size, location, products, or services—to compete on a global basis.

For many businesses, however, that technology has a downside. They have used technology to provide their customers with the speed and convenience of online shopping but, in the process, they have downgraded the importance of human interaction to the stage of near extinction. Many of those businesses don’t even include an e-mail address or a telephone number on their web sites so that customers can contact them. The message that sends to customers is this: “Please place your order and select your payment option, but do not, under any circumstances, attempt to contact us. We are not interested in—nor do we allow—human interaction.”

What these businesses fail to realize is that most consumers turn to the Internet to compare products and prices before they make their purchase decisions. If, during that process, they have a question or two, but they are unable to contact that company, they will move on to the next company.  What is almost worse are companies that do provide e-mail options and telephone numbers, but don’t respond in a timely manner to customer inquiries.

During 2010, e-commerce in the United States reached $165.4 billion, up from $144.1 billion in 2009.  How much of that revenue did your organization take in? How much more could you have had if you had provided potential customers with the opportunity to communicate with your employees?

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