The Most Brilliant Innovation of the Past 50 Years

We live in a technology-driven world. That obvious fact is changing the way we perform a lot of the activities in both our personal and professional lives. Sometimes it makes us better, but sometimes it doesn’t.

For example, I got a new cell phone earlier this year. Some of the phone numbers from my old phone didn’t transfer over. I realized this several months later when I needed to call an old colleague, but couldn’t find him in my address book. Just like that, I was paralyzed by a technological malfunction.

Here’s another example of technology gone mad. I got a letter from my health care provider instructing me to fill out a quick questionnaire and mail it back to them. I was also given the option to fill it out online. Since I’m frugal and didn’t want to pay for a stamp to mail back their questionnaire, I opted for the online version. But, even after following their directions to a T, I could not locate the link on their home page to access the questionnaire.

So I called customer service. After sitting on hold for five minutes, I talked to a clueless goof for another five before he realized he needed to transfer me to another representative. I was then put on hold for another five minutes before being granted the opportunity to chat with another clueless person. This process repeated itself two more times before I was finally transferred to the correct department. There I sat on hold for two more minutes before a computer-generated voice said “goodbye” and disconnected me.

Why am I ranting and raving about this to you guys? Because I think it teaches an important lesson. Mobile phones, websites, twitter feeds and what-have-you are no substitute for the greatest innovation of the past 50 years: competence and courtesy. William Chevalier and Michael Sittaro have been able to quickly build a $5 million company because they understand this.

Technology, when used correctly, can definitely enhance both competence and courtesy. The operative words are “when used correctly.” Your mobile phone can be great for busy clients who feel confident that they can reach you at any time, for instance. But if you answer in a loud environment shouting “huh? huh?” into the phone, that doesn’t do the client any favors. Likewise, if your utilization of technology makes interacting with your company more “impersonal,” that, too, can have negative consequences.

Many of you will be heading to Louisville, KY, in the next couple of weeks to attend the GIE+EXPO and GIC. You’ll see all sorts of innovation in the way of new equipment, software and technology. You’ll also find innovation in the form of ideas. You’ll be exposed to those ideas at seminars, and when engaging in conversation with other like-minded contractors.

I find that to be interesting, too. With all of the Facebooking and webinars and LinkedIn groups that exist today, there is still no substitute for face-to-face networking. There aren’t too many places to more effectively do that than GIE+EXPO and GIC in Louisville. So we’ll hope to see you there. Stop by our booth #4036.

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