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Tech reliance threatening art of ‘good business’

Alongside fickle brand loyalty and online shopping, the days of being on a first name basis with customers are mostly gone.

Yet, need it be so?

In the digital age, adding a personal touch in business can be a remarkable, and memorable quality.

A new study from Servcorp found that 65 per cent of Australian business owners believe the use of technology and digital communications has to some extent, meant they’ve lost touch with customers.

The survey of more than 450 Australian business owners revealed that 48 per cent now spend less time meeting in person with clients and contacts than they did five years ago.

What’s more, it was also found the following technology related faux pas have played a significant role in business relations when it comes to choosing a supplier or awarding a contract:

  • Not having calls and/or voicemails returned (78%)
  • Not feeling like their needs are understood or met (67%)
  • Receiving poorly written emails containing typos and grammatical errors (58%)
  • Limited points of contact – no office line or address on their business card (42%)
  • Feeling like they are too busy for a face-to-face meeting (34%)

Marcus Moufarrige from Servcorp commented that while there is no doubt the use of technology and digital communications has significantly increased productivity and fueled growth, it is not a replacement for best business practices.

“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,” Moufarrige said.

“It’s clear that maintaining a personal touch by being responsive, showing you have time for your clients and that you understand their needs is more important than ever. To do this, technology can actually provide a competitive edge by helping companies to service clients more effectively – but it should not be at the cost of personal, one-to-one engagement,” he added.

Is there too much of a reliance on technology?

  • When it comes to communication, email (91%) now far outweighs face-to-face meetings (64%) as people’s preferred way to keep in touch – with more informal text messaging (26%) and social networking (10%) also playing an important role in business communications.
  • The vast majority of business owners and managers admit to actively avoiding interstate travel – phone or video calls (54%) and email (25%) most likely to be pursued instead of making plans to travel for a face-to-face (19%) when a client or business contact requests a meeting.
Stephanie Zillmanhttp://www.dynamicbusiness.com.au
Stephanie is the editor-at-large of Dynamic Business. Stephanie brings with her a passion for journalism, business, and new ideas. On her days off, you might find her reading a book on the beach.