In this digital age where companies are perpetually trying to stay ahead, the recently released Servcorp Good Business Study has revealed that too much reliance on technology could be threatening the art of good business.
Almost half (48 per cent) of the 457 Australian business owners and managers surveyed admitted to spending less time meeting in person with clients and contacts than they did five years ago.
The majority (65 per cent) also believe that the increasing use of technology and digital communication means we are losing the personal touch when doing business.
Eew… where is your digital etiquette?
Furthermore, and very interestingly, the research has found that business owners and managers admit to being significantly influenced by technology related faux pas when choosing a supplier or awarding a contract.
The top complaints are not having calls and/or voicemails returned, feeling like their needs are not understood or met and receiving poorly written emails with typos and grammatical errors. Yep, business deals are falling apart thanks to misplaced apostrophes…
Limited points of contact (no office line or address on their business card) and feeling like a potential supplier is too busy for a face-to-face meeting are total turn-offs too.
Are we relying too much on technology?
When it comes to communication, email now outweighs face-to-face meetings by far as our preferred way to keep in touch, at 91 per cent and 64 per cent respectively.
Even the more informal text messaging and social networking are increasingly being used for business communications. Hey mate, could you inbox me those sales projections?
Furthermore, despite Australia’s sprawling economic geography, the vast majority of business owners and managers also admit to doing their best to avoid interstate travel.
When a client or business contact requests a meeting, 54 per cent would rather make a phone or video call, 25 per cent suggest email correspondence while only 19 per cent make plans to travel for a face-to-face.
One can’t help but wonder why. When asked why they now spend less time meeting with clients, 71 per cent of respondents said email is simply quicker and easier.
Saving money on travel, less face-to-face meetings creating more desk time to get work done and the convenience of conference calls were the other reasons cited.
Sometimes, you just have to go back to basics…
“There is no question that the use of technology and digital communications in business can significantly increase productivity and help fuel growth and expansion,” said Marcus Moufarrige, Servcorp’s Chief Operating Officer.
“However, Australian companies could be putting future growth prospects at risk by using technology in isolation – it’s becoming the default rather than a complementary tool to support businesses in everything from communication to automation,” he added.
“Maintaining a personal touch is clearly more important than ever. Technology can actually provide a competitive edge in doing this but it should not be at the cost of personal, one-to-one engagement. Ultimately, like everything in business, there is a time and place for technology,” Mr Moufarrige concluded.