One of our vendors recently asked me to fax a form to them … really, a fax? So I started thinking, what are the signs that a company has not kept up with the times and is stuck in the dark ages?
If you are guilty of any of these fives things, it’s time to move forward. Immediately. It’s not just about productivity, it’s about keeping your pulse on how people do business and what is important to them. Keep your particular customer base in mind, but these five things are most likely holding you back.
- You still use a fax machine.
Our company does not own a fax machine and I have not sent a fax in over a decade. If you are not aware that fax machines have been replaced with emails, you are a dinosaur headed for extinction. Even when signatures are required, the businessperson of today expects things to be signed, scanned, and emailed. You shouldn’t expect clients, customers, or vendors to have fax machines.
- You only communicate by phone.
If you sell anything to millennials, don’t ask them to call your customer service phone number … that’s not how they communicate. Reconsider your ‘social media seems like a silly fad’ attitude and embrace the new ways your customers want to communicate with you and each other. Yes, it’s good to have the option to call. But if you’re not transitioning to live chat and social media correspondence, you’ll soon lose any customer base below the age of 40. (If I lost you at “live chat,” it’s time to hire a consultant.).
- You still print everything.
Seriously? This is my planet too, so learn how to archive electronic documents, sign PDFs online, and stop killing our trees. With a few very rare exceptions, you don’t need a hard copy. The risk here is not just to the planet, it’s to your ability to hire and retain quality employees. Now and for at least the last 10 years, college graduates are looking for companies with good environmental practices. You don’t need to bring 15 printed copies to the meeting, trust me.
- You’re still using snail mail as a marketing tool.
With the plethora of social media channels available to boost your business and communicate with your customer base on a one-to-one basis, snail mail is even more obsolete than your fax machine. Not to mention all that paper you’re wasting. It’s more expensive and less effective every day. When your younger customer base gets direct mail marketing, they tend to recycle it and stow away a bad impression of you for sending them “junk mail”.
- You still need “face time”.
Gone are the days when working 15 hours a day was a solid measure of success. If you allow your employees to utilize flexible scheduling options, you will likely see more productivity than if you encourage the traditional “first one in, last to go home” paradigm. Remember that sometimes a task takes longer because someone refuses to consider easier options. The person staying late every day may need some help with new approaches to work smarter rather than applause for burning the midnight oil.
It happens to all of us, we find ourselves holding onto a tradition even though it’s not logical. We find comfort in doing things “the way we’ve always done them.” When it comes to your business, it’s important to fight this urge and push forward. The longer you hold on, the more behind you’re getting. Look for our next post the top signs you’re heading for irrelevance–some not so obvious ways you may be falling behind!
Do you have anything to add to our list? I’m sure we missed something! Share with us in the comments below.