Chinese Food, Technology and Other Lessons to Learn About Using Tech As A Tool

chinesefoodcontainer.jpgIf you look around you see technology in action. Maybe the Crack-berry user – repeatedly pulling her BlackBerry out of her $75 hand bag. Or the stream of requests to be added to FaceBook. Or maybe it’s the constant clicking of Starbucks’ guzzling patrons typing on their brand new Mac computers (my old Lenovo doesn’t look quite right amongst this crowd).
However if you look deeper you’ll realize that you are not using technology to its fullest. In fact sometimes the simplest technologies are the most effective and before you even use technology consider if you are using it in the right way.
Harvey Mackay of the Minneaopolis-St. Paul Minnesota Tribute writes When I popped into the local Asian takeout recently, the owner was at her computer. “Doing the books?” I asked. “No,” she replied. “Since we started offering online ordering … our average ticket is up 25 percent!” Most small-business people are far more computer-savvy today. How should small businesses keep a handle on the technology surge?
Look for the trends that are right for your niche. Don’t just pump up your Internet presence to be techno-chic. Millions of customers out there will hold you accountable for your Internet promises. Flush out mechanical bottlenecks. You make your high technology to be the hottest in cyberspace, but without enough phone lines and receivers to handle demand, what will it matter?

I highly encourage you to read Harvey’s entire article and remember – technology is ONLY a tool. If you don’t use it right, it either won’t work or won’t work as you thought it would.
Here’s an example.

All of you use email in one way or another. I’m sure many of you are even power email users. However, what I’m also sure about is that more of you should be taking your email addresses, building customer profiles, segmenting your customers and sending them email newsletters more specifically geared to their needs. I’m sure you should take things up an entirely higher level and integrate customer relationship management (CRM) into every aspect of your business.
This is how to move from one level of technology to the next.
As you evolve your technology, DO ENSURE, that you are able to sustain the growth and opportunities the new technology enables you to have.
If you build a great web site but have crappy customer service in your retail store – you’re going to disappoint the customer.