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Resisting Technology

  Maeve Davis

Driving home from work the other day, I was listening to a show on CBC radio celebrating the 45th birthday of email. While the program mentioned that the Internet as we know it, only came into widespread use in the early 90s. In fact, Ray Tomlinson, an American pioneer in computer programing, sent the first email back in 1971.

As I sat in my car thinking about this, I listened to my GPS advise me of the traffic delay, while my Bluetooth announced a new email.

Which (pardon the pun) really drove home what a difference technology has made in our everyday lives. Think of how we not only drive but also book hotel reservations, watch TV, order taxis, pay bills, shop, etc.

Communication is instant. And that immediacy creates an expectation on the part of consumers — our customers — that puts pressure on us to be responsive.

That’s not to say we’ve all embraced technology. I will be the first to admit that there are still some ‘old ways’ that I’ve had trouble parting with — particularly when it comes to banking. I am of the generation who remembers when phone banking was new. Back then, I welcomed the convenience of it.

Now, it has been largely replaced by online banking. And despite the fact that I’m a strong proponent of efficiency, and am aware of research telling me that of every eight bank transactions, seven are conducted online, I have trouble giving up what’s familiar.

I suspect that I’m not alone, as I see the same resistance in my own customer base. ISB Canada has technology that (modesty permitting) completes sourcing requests in only two hours. Manually, such requests can take up to 5 days. Yet there are strongholds who insist on doing it the old way.

I can understand this resistance — but logic tells me (as it perhaps tells many of you) that new technology is often a good thing, and is worth getting used to.

Think back a few years ago when mobile phones, GPS and email were introduced. We sometimes wondered if we’d ever get the hang of it. Now, could we imagine our lives without this technology?

I’ll leave you with that thought as I prepare to pay some bills — at my computer.

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