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Hamstrung by technology

By November 8, 2010February 14th, 2019Articles, leadership

If your IT systems were disabled in your business, would you be able to deliver the level of client service that you could when your systems were running?

I had a couple of interesting experiences last week that really intrigued me. The first was the alarm, the confusion, the helplessness the sales staff of a major sporting store were experiencing because their computers were not working. The EFTPOS system was down so they couldn’t process credit card or debit card transations. The office had no idea of what to do, the head office could not provide direction. There was a queue of clients, who had been waiting for a long period of time, they were getting angry. The suggested solution was to go to the nearest atm to get cash. No apology, no eye contact.

Similar story the next day at an IT store, how ironic! I went to get an adaptor for my mac, the guy went to process the sale only to find the system was down. After turning in circles, trying to log on about 10 times and making a couple of phone calls, we found out the guy with the knowledge was out at lunch. I was beginning to wonder if it was me by this stage! Did I suddenly possess disabling power over technology, sent to test my patience? 

As I watched these situations unfold, it made me wonder where the leadership was in these businesses? These sales teams did not have any direction at a critical time when the sales systems were disabled. They were experiencing stress and embarrassment because they had no idea what to do. There was obviously no back up plan in place for the sales teams to refer to. What a disaster! 

As a leader, it is imperative to ensure your teams understand and are confident with your sales process. It is equally important to ensure your team know and understand what the “back up plan” is in a time of crisis – Plan B. There should be a methodical process in place that teams need to follow if the technology is unavailable, for their safety and also for their peace of mind and stress levels. This important process should form part of your quarterly training with your team if this is a critical part of your business, as it is in the two stores used as examples in this story. Above all, your clients should not be inconvenienced at all if your sales system is down. They should experience the same consistent level of service regardless of the situation with your technology. 

Would your sales process be hamstrung if your technology was disabled?