• March 13, 2024
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Expanding the Tech Stack Is a Business and Personal Imperative

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I’ve been making a concerted effort over the past few months to get more technology in my life. I just got my first smart TV, though I’m still having problems connecting it to my home Wi-Fi network so I can take advantage of all the programming choices and connected services available. I upgraded my home computer, laptop, and tablet with the latest software, operating systems, and firmware. I have yet to update my mobile phone, though I plan on trading in my iPhone 7 for the new iPhone 15 soon. And this year, I plan to file my taxes electronically for the first time ever. Given that Google just pulled the plug on its Gemini artificial intelligence image generation software after it surfaced inappropriate and inaccurate images, including a black George Washington and female NHL players, I’m glad that one wasn’t on my tech road map.

As the editor of CRM, which is largely a technology magazine, it makes sense for me to be up on the latest tech. I have to admit, however, that my journey down that road hasn’t always been smooth. There have been a number of hurdles—integration problems, budgeting delays, questions around whether I really need the technology, a reluctance to change. Sound familiar?

In this issue, though, we present three technology innovations that you really need to adopt as soon as possible: podcasting as a marketing tool, centralized calendaring for your sales team, and voice assistants for your mobile app. Oh, and if you don’t yet have a mobile app, you are already falling far behind.

Of those three, mobile voicebots are possibly the most urgent. In our second feature, “It’s Time to Add Voicebots to Your Mobile App,” Justin Lundy, founder and CEO of Lundy.io, makes the case that businesses preemptively adopting voice can set a new standard in customer service.

“But those slow to adapt risk becoming obsolete in a rapidly evolving market where convenience and innovation lead,” he cautions.

The article also points to recent research that found that nearly two-thirds of all Americans aged 18 and older use voice assistants regularly, and nearly half of consumers want their favorite mobile apps to include voice assistant functionality. I am already using a few of these, but there is so much more that I could do if more companies had mobile app voicebots. Industries like banking, travel, hospitality, healthcare, government, utilities, and several others stand to benefit the most, but the demand across all industries is soaring higher every day.

I can also attest to the need for companies to increase their use of podcasting. In my haste to adopt some of my new technologies, I’ve become a big fan of how-to videos on YouTube and similar channels. How else would I have found out how to reconfigure my new printer/scanner/copier/fax to run seamlessly on my upgraded wireless network? Or how to install additional memory chips in my PC? Or how to connect my cable receiver, VCR, DVD player, and sound system to my new smart TV and to program one remote to control them all?

Current research also supports the podcasting push. In our cover story, “6 Steps for Turning Podcasts into Effective Outreach,” writer Linda Pophal presented research that found that the share of Americans who listen to podcasts has substantially increased over the past decade: In 2013, just 12 percent of Americans had listened to a podcast in the past month. Today, it’s 42 percent, and the numbers are only going up.

I’m not a salesperson, but I can also get behind the idea of digital calendaring. For my own personal appointments with doctors, my dog groomer, my accountant—who will help me with the tax electronic filing thing—and my building’s maintenance staff, I have moved from Post-It notes and filling in those little boxes on my wall calendar to apps on my mobile phone and email server. I can see how sales departments can benefit from this technology and the integration with CRM systems that we advocate in our third feature.

If you haven’t yet considered all three of these technologies, time’s not on your side. The calls from customers and employees are already there, and they will only get louder the longer you wait.

Leonard Klie is the editor of CRM magazine. He can be reached at lklie@infotoday.com.

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