Over the last 2+ years, we have all experienced an uptick in technology use — whether for work-related purposes, educational, or grocery shopping via your mobile device — COVID accelerated the use of technology in both business and personal life. We too leveraged technology as we quickly pivoted from in-person customer advisory board meetings to virtual sessions here at Farland Group. While connecting virtually is valuable and our clients continue to connect with their customers and strengthen those relationships, people miss the face-to-face interaction and the opportunity for peer networking. Put simply, technology can’t completely replace the benefits of in-person collaboration.
Striking the Right Balance
I was reminded how important it is to connect with other humans in a world where we rely heavily on technology like never before. A random hotel charge appeared on my credit card from a vacation I took nearly 30 days ago; I simply wanted to speak with a human to understand the charge. Twelve minutes — that’s how long it took me to finally get a human on the line. Before I was allowed to talk to another person, the automated system attempted to answer my question via technology…. press 1, say yes or no, press 2, say your name, press 1, press 4…and on and on and on…. and once I had a human on the other end of the phone, my question was resolved within two minutes. I realized there is a fine balance to strike between virtual and human interaction.
Talking to Humans
Technology can help answer simple questions, but we can’t forget the importance of talking to humans. Technology can simplify processes, but what I really needed in those twelve minutes was to interact with another human to resolve my issue. We hear similar sentiments from business leaders who participate in the customer advisory boards we facilitate — the opportunity to interact with peers and talk to others about the challenges they are tackling is extremely important.
Consider the Benefits of In-person
When you’re exploring the launch of a customer advisory board, consider the benefits of both in-person and virtual sessions. Use virtual sessions in between those in-person meetings to continue the conversation and foster client relationships. And when there is an opportunity to come together in-person, take it because that face-to-face interaction is sometimes what people really need, and it can lead to unexpected opportunities.