HOW BADLY ARE TECHNOLOGY AND FACELESS EMPLOYEES DAMAGING YOUR BUSINESS?
Technology tools can assist to help us operate our business more efficiently and save costs. However, like any other tool, when used badly or mismanaged, the use of technology can be expensive. Today, our experiences often show how technology tools have been installed without understanding all the implications.
One of the big issues created when technology tools are installed is the destruction of the social interaction between your trading partners' employees and your own employees. It is well recorded, and enforced repeated by your marketing and social gurus, all businesses benefit when there are positive social interactions between people. This loss of human interactions is often the cause of trading relationship breakdowns.
The problem with many new technology tools is often not the tools per se. Rather, it is the lack of foresight which accompanies the implementation of the tools. A number of the issues which can occur when the technology tools are implemented badly include the following.
(i) When the introduction of new technology tools is mismanaged, information barriers are often created which deny the business of vital information. For instance, if a supplier cannot input an invoice in to a billing system, it does not mean the customer does not owe the money. It just means the customer is unaware of their pending liability.
(ii) If the technology barrier is too strong, and suppliers cannot lodge their invoices for payment, or receive positive feedback quickly, they may place your business on stop supply.
(iii) When developing helpdesks, supplier and customer portals facilities, inevitably we see the creation of the generic employee. You know the ones I mean; sales@, info@, accounts@ etc. If you have disenfranchised or incompetent employees, these interfacing contacts provide a wonderful excuse for incompetence and lazy work practices. Creating meaningful KPIs for your employees in these situations will only produce another minefield of problems.
(iv) Not every enquiry is equal. Incoming enquiries to the helpdesk or portal facilities are usually treated equally and without any regard to their importance. Those enquiries which if dealt with promptly would result in an early payment therefore, are just added to the queue of enquiries. As a consequence, the receipt of valuable cashflow is inevitably delayed.
(v) When you enter an enquiry from an internet portal or a helpdesk facility, usually you receive a reply advising your enquiry will be dealt with in "x" hours or days. One enquiry facility even requests you to note your enquiry number and wait a week or so for an answer. After about a week, it is only then they ask you about the nature of your enquiry. Is this business or government bureaucracy thinking?
In this situation, we see the developer of the process is thinking like a bureaucrat, not as a business person. After all, who can or will wait days for an answer to their enquiry anymore? Better still, ask yourself this question. "Are you really prepared to wait "x" days for an answer to your enquiry?" The only people who are really happy about this situation are your fraudsters and slow-paying customers.
If you really want to create a top class enquiry process, ask the business owners and managers of tomorrow on their thoughts. Today's Millennials, will be your customers and suppliers of tomorrow. They want everything now, and no excuses are accepted.
Technology provides us with a wonderful range of business tools with the proviso they are implemented and managed properly. Installed incorrectly or without proper forethought, technology tools can only add to your business nightmares.