Technology’s evil offspring

matt_new-mug1I had the unfortunate need to take my wife to the doctor the other day. The unfortunate part wasn’t necessarily that she had to go to the doctor; rather, it was the doctor’s decision to thrust technology into the center of the doctor-patient relationship. Maybe you’ve experienced this. You visit the doctor, she essentially interviews you regarding the symptoms and reason for your visit, and rather than showing any interest, she methodically punches all of your answers into a laptop. The experience, even for an observer, is all too unnerving.

It used to be that doctors showed an interest in your well being. Now they use computers to, in her words, “rule out the really, really bad stuff.”

It used to be that doctors and their nurses would address you by name and would demonstrate a level of understanding. Now they peck away at a keyboard and leave the room after filling in all the blanks only to demand from someone else out in the hallway, “Can you do a test on this lady in this room?”

It used to be they asked questions because they cared. Now they ask them because their computer program mandates an answer before it allows them to move to the next screen. And their response to follow-up questions: “What were we talking about again?”

It was a bad experience, as you can tell. And to be entirely fair, it was a doctor we had never seen before and this was one isolated case (or at least I hope it was, for her sake). Regardless, it made me wonder how technology is affecting our boating customers.

As salespeople, are we so hungry for measuring our closing ratios that we force walk-ins through an annoying information-gathering process? Are we so caught up in our newly acquired CRM software that we’re killing an otherwise enjoyable boat buying process before it even gets started?

Technology is a great thing. But by itself, it does nothing for our businesses. Technology must be complemented by a level of customer service that encourages customers to come back. Our customer interactions must pre-dominantly feature the human touch.

The doctor we saw that day punched and clicked her answers to the computer’s questions in a manner that suggested I could have been doing it myself on WebMD. Don’t make your customers think they could buy their boat over the Internet just as easily.

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