Relationships remain key in the age of technology

Personal relationships are still the heartbeat of business success, despite the increasing use of technology. Personal relationships show how we value each other. Personal relationships enable us to empathize with each other’s situations.

In his seminal book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie wrote:

“If there is a single secret to success, it is the ability to take another’s point of view and see things from that person’s point of view as well as your own.”

Business relationships are about understanding the challenges we all face in our daily encounters.

The search industry has seen significant changes in recent years. Massive consolidation has caused so many of the traditional research companies to be swallowed up by larger corporations. We need to find ways to differentiate our service offerings, build that trust in customer relationships, and provide services that carriers feel add value to their business.

Don’t get me wrong, consolidation has brought with it huge advances in technology and customer experience. Gone are the days of endlessly calling suppliers to order reports, sorting them by hand, printing pieces of paper and hand-delivering the research to the office…. and good riddance too! With the exception of local authority enquiries, most reports are now available on the same day, and many are returned within minutes.

Delivery platforms are smarter, smarter, more intuitive and recognize potential risks that may need to be considered and errors in search requests. But some of this technological progress has come at the expense of good, old-fashioned customer service. The personal touch.

Do we rely too much on technology? Are chatbots, apps and portals what our customers really want and need? What happens when things go wrong? People need reassurance, they need to be able to pick up the phone or send an email and feel like someone is taking a personal interest in solving their problem instead of “chatting” with a faceless bot or texting through portals.

I recently acquired a client from a rival supplier. When I asked what brought them back to us, they said they felt like they were a number and not a customer. It was the personal touch that was missing from their communications; they didn’t feel like they ever talked to the same person twice. There was no familiar voice at the end of the phone when things went wrong (as things inevitably do on the air!).

In our experience, 90% of orders go through with little or no intervention. But that 10% is where relationships are made and broken. This is where knowledge, experience and expertise really make a difference. Recognizing that the carrier is almost certainly under pressure, whether from the client, the agent or the other party, and being able to take that weight off and see the matter through to completion is a critical part of the business relationship.

Whether it’s a question on a report that requires clarification, or tracking an expedited service. It’s about trusting that the job will be done right, the first time.

The challenge when introducing technology is to take a step back from that personal touch. You risk losing the experience and expertise provided by people when you are overly dependent on technology. At Geodesys we have people who have been with us since the beginning, 25 years (and counting!), and no amount of technology will replace their understanding and expertise. They are an integral part of our account management and customer service offering. they I know research industry inside out.

The key is to get the right combination of technology and people.

Going back to Dale Carnegie’s quote; Organizations that can empathize with customers and understand how to respond will be best placed to win friends and influence others.

Kay Toon is an account manager at Geodesys

This article was submitted for publication by Geodesys as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the consignor and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.

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