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What We Did At Work After The Computer

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Technology Can Be Your Friend

Technology Can Be Your Friend

One of my most popular blogs was a non business topic I published on June 27, 2011.  It was entitled What We Did For Fun Before The Computer.  Today I am going to talk about changes in communication technology brought about by computers.  With changes comes new expectations and a new standard of acceptable use must be adopted.  This usually takes place informally over a period of time and the standard can vary by company culture of within an industry.

Before the desktop computer became commonplace, business communication was mostly done via the telephone, the post office or perhaps a cross-town messenger service.  This type of communication was standard for decades.  A big change to this that I experienced first-hand in the mid 1980’s was the fax machine. 

Once a computer was on every desk, email services revolutionized the pace of communication.  Now we have instant messaging, text messaging, cell phones, twitter and so on.  E-mail is on the decline and so is the use of the land line phone.  I know some people who no longer bother to listen to their voice mail.  How do we deal with the changes and what are the rules? Am I expected to respond to a voice mail on my cell phone over the weekend and what about the text message from my boss or client during the week at 9 PM?  Technology which can make work easier can also lead to expectations of immediate responses and 24 hour availability.

What are we supposed to do?  My suggestion is that if there is not already a policy for what to expect when communicating at your business (internally and externally) I suggest you develop one.  It must be communicated to all concerned parties (internally and externally).  It should balance customer service with marketplace expectations and also respect traditional non-business hours. Once people are aware of what to expect from your policy and it is reasonable, most will be able to manage without excess stress.  Without “boundaries” created by your policy it leads to a wild west, anything goes environment which is not good.  To some people, a non-response to a late night call or text message may be insulting because they are assuming that you communicate the way they do and they would respond right away. 

I am a big believer in providing responsive customer service but I urge you to develop a communication policy for current and future technology that will satisfy your customers that will have both of you in a “happy place”.  The first step is to develop those boundaries.

Have a great week letting computers and technology work for you, not the other way around.

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Written by pacelinebiz

February 24, 2014 at 8:01 am

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