I just returned from ASA Staffing World and will soon be departing for the NAPS 2018 National Conference in Florida. I used to dread going to these things as an exhibitor. Between the travel, time out of the office and long days it was generally not something I really looked forward to. That has all changed for me.
We have been doing software demonstrations remotely ever since the coupler modem. However, when the opportunity was local we usually hopped in our car and performed the demo on site. When not feasible we opted for remote but in addition we spent a lot of time on the phone. Today, our marketing is supplemented by social media and email marketing. It has been a few years since we actually mailed out a marketing piece. Marketing and sales has certainly changed.
Customer service also has been altered. Although our support team is on the phone all day long, I do quite a bit of communication via email and even text to some of my customers. Sometimes I message back and forth on LinkedIn®. It was at the last ASA Conference that I once again realized how refreshing it is to meet with customers face-to-face.
One of the huge benefits of going to a conference is the face-to-face impact. Seeing customers and having a conversation with them in the moment is huge. We take photos of our customers that stop by to visit and we put them on a wall in our work cafe’. The support people love that because they finally see who they are talking to!
Being able to look into a prospect’s eyes during a demo and listen to their needs as you go through the software together is an unbelievable experience. You see the excitement and the smile on their face when they see something they like. You can joke around and laugh and begin building a relationship. It is an experience we do not get that often anymore.
At a tradeshow people get together and swap ideas. Everyone really enjoys each other’s company. You see it as people walk down the aisles. It’s the laughs, the comradeship, and the curiosity that shines when you watch the people. Everyone seems more relaxed as they get a reprieve from the daily hustle. Yes, we still check our phones a lot but not as much.
A huge topic that we hear from prospects and customers is how to bring candidates and clients in using technology. Automatic email and text communication in mass is at the top of everyone’s list. As a technology vendor, we have built tools that allow our customers to post jobs, invite candidates to apply electronically and even staff and have candidates accept jobs electronically. With all of the electronic communication back and forth who even needs a phone anymore?
Yet, when you speak to someone it is a completely different vibe. You hear the tone of someone’s voice and people are usually a lot nicer. Even a mailing piece is a tangible item that creates a connection and establishes an identity for the company sending it. With our quest for efficiency and cost savings we have taken a lot of that away.
Technology is here to stay and companies that don’t implement the technical means available to reduce costs and increase exposure will not be able to compete. However, we have to take a look at how we can supplement technology tools with the human element to build relationships with our customers. We all talk about how we can make our business stand above the rest. Maybe the answer today is as simple as a phone call or a face-to-face meeting. Certainly something for all of us to think about.
Learn more about Terri's company Automated Business Designs at ABD