I was walking on the trail a couple days ago when my son Face-Time’d me from Portugal. It was just to touch base and let me know everything was fine. From 3,500 miles away it was like he was right next to me. That still amazes me. On the flip side, I made a call the other day from my office phone and had to leave a message. In that message I asked they call my cell phone and left that number, three times, only to have the call returned to my desk phone because that’s what popped up on their caller ID. Forget that I left a detailed message with specific instructions to call my cell. Their systems provided a number so why actually listen to my message?
Technology can be great. It can make life easier, convenient, help get things done faster, and so on, but it can’t replace good old-fashioned human interaction and attentiveness. We have the capabilities that allow members to do pretty much anything they want without interacting with a human being, yet they continue to do so. They call on the phone, they come into the branch, they send emails because they have a need.
Sometimes the technology alone can meet a need, but other times the need is more than transactional or informational. Members want understanding, compassion, someone to give advice or talk over options with. We are more than order takers; we are financial representatives, experts in our field, people that help our members make better decisions that can have a positive impact on their lives.
There are tremendous benefits to technology. We all need it, and depend on it; but we never lose sight of how important our members are. A cell phone can’t shake a hand or show appreciation; a PC can’t help you deal with an unexpected life change; a loan system can’t explain the benefits and risks of a purchase. There is an art to conversation and a physical and emotional benefit to engagement. Technology is just one tool we use to create the Freedom experience, but we never lose site of the importance of conversation.