7 Things Technology Cannot Do

By Monika D'Agostino Chief Consultative Sales Officer, Consultative Sales Academy | November 10, 2013

Everything in today's business environment seems to be about technology, the latest developments, content marketing, microblogs, engagement, SEOs, etc.

Some companies have become over-systematized, as I call it. Everything and I mean everything is left to automation. Once the database is set-up and your name is entered you get emails on a regular basis whether they are relevant to your current need or not.

This just happened to me recently where I got a letter from my Bank of … soliciting me for a lower mortgage rate. I am a client of Bank of …, they hold my mortgage and you would think that they know whether I qualify for a reduced rate, but as it turned out they didn't. That's what I call over-systemized.
Here are some examples of what technology cannot do:

1. It Can Make You Feel Better, But It Cannot Converse With You

Yes, sometimes getting an offer in the mail (that sounds ancient, right?) or in your email inbox can make you feel better, but the elevated feeling is only as good as being able to share it with other people. And yes, you can then post a comment on Facebook, or tweet about it or send a text to your children (they don't respond to any other form of communication any more, do they??). It's just that we forget that it's not the technology that makes us feel better, but the human response we are getting. The technology is just a vehicle to communicate. It used to be the water fountain in a village before we had telephones. Everything after the telephone is just another tech enabled opportunity for us to connect with other people and to get their feedback and engage them. Why do you think people post on Facebook what they had for lunch or dinner? They are waiting to get a response from somebody. A technology-enabled response, but still a human reaction.

2. It Cannot Replace Common Sense

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In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.