WHY INVEST IN TECHNOLOGY FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Miami PSPI, as well as many other companies are investing in technology to reduce fixed and variable expenses while expanding coverage area. What prompted the decision for us to invest in technology is that I scanned the environment, and I came to an interesting conclusion about how customers prefer to communicate with businesses. Firs of all, I should make this full disclosure – I have no data to support my conclusions. These conclusions are based on my observations and the conclusions are my own.
I found that in order for businesses to compete in this new business environment, many businesses are forced to invest in technology that reduces the need for so many employees because customers are becoming more sophisticated, and they expect to interact with businesses differently than customers did a mere 5 years ago. I believe this is a direct result of external forces on the economy that has drastically affected how customers prefer to shop for goods and services. These forces include:
High Inflation. We are currently living through one of the highest inflation increases in US history.
Reluctance of people applying for entry-level or lower paying jobs because they were receiving comparable or even higher financial assistance through unemployment benefits than the wages offered for entry-level positions. Many businesses that did not permanently close after the pandemic, were forced to pay higher salaries and the cost was passed on to the customer.
Supply and demand imbalances such as the disruption the supply chain in 2021.
Cost of production increases. The cost of raw materials, labor, and other inputs used in the production process increased and resulted in higher prices for the final products and services.
Customers have adapted and changed. They do not value human interaction as much as they did in the past. Before the pandemic, our phones rang all day long. Today, it rarely rings. However, we are much busier than before the pandemic and we are more engaged with our customers because of implementation of innovative technology. For example, our new case management system, has a predictive communication element that drastically reduced the need for incoming calls.
As a result, customers today feel just as satisfied with a fully automated company that offers automated solutions to issues, as they would if they had to deal with company representative. In fact, younger adults would prefer technological solutions instead of dealing with accompany employee. For example, I noticed that people would rather stand in a longer line at the self-check-out than they would a shorter full-service check out. They even become irritated when something goes wrong, and they have to deal with an employee to resolve the issue at the register. This is also true for Amazon’s easy return and refund policy vs. having to drive back to a store with the product, wait in a long line, and only maybe get a full refund.
Customers today enjoy efficiency and convenience that technology provides. Automated systems, self-service options, and online platforms can save time and effort compared to dealing with people. The control and autonomy of interacting with technology allows individuals to have more control over their interactions and experiences. People seem to be happier when they can navigate through digital interfaces at their own pace and avoid potential conflicts or social dynamics that can arise when dealing with people. This sense of control and autonomy is appealing to some individuals, especially our young adult clients.
Interacting with technology can be less intimidating for individuals who experience social anxiety or shyness. Communicating through text messages, emails, or online platforms allows for a certain level of anonymity and removes some of the pressure associated with face-to-face interactions. It provides a more comfortable and less overwhelming environment for those who struggle with social interactions. Technology tends to provide a consistent and predictable experience. Human interactions can be more variable and unpredictable, as people have different moods, communication styles, and behaviors. My customers seem much happier accessing their case files whenever they want, reviewing statuses at will , and even sending new instructions on an online platform than they do by calling us during traditional business hours. When our system goes down for routine maintenance, some customers have even reported becoming anxious over it.
Now that more people are working from home, business hours are becoming blurred. People expect to be able to engage with a business 24/7. People want to be able to access online resources, make transactions, or seek assistance at any time, without being limited by the availability of human counterparts.
Sure, human interactions are valuable and important, but businesses who do not have advanced technology to service their customers may be seen as outdated and possibly unable to deliver on the new and more evolved needs of their customers. This is especially true for customers who are other businesses that intend on scaling up and growing. Many of our customers are solo practitioners. They intend on growing their firms and they will not engage with vendors who do not have the ability to scale up with them. It becomes burdensome to reengage new vendors as they grow and their needs change. Balancing the use of technology and maintaining meaningful connections with others is essential and business need to communicate in a manner that most benefits their fast moving customers.
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