The Technology Gap
"Where's my desktop?" I heard from over the cubicle wall. I poked my head over the top and asked, a little disbelievingly I must admit, "On your computer?" Bill's desk is super messy, so maybe he was asking what was beneath the stacks of paper and folders. Bill sighed, "These instructions are confusing--drag and drop the icon onto my desktop. What does that mean?"
Bill was frustrated. Almost as frustrated as I get with Bill. I'll carefully craft an email, which he'll print out so he can read and write comments on it. ???? So much for the paperless office.
Few areas generate as much frustration and conflict in an office as technology. Younger workers are extremely comfortable with information technology. And while this is a sweeping generalization--I personally know Boomers who can keep pace--it does take longer on average to teach them something new about a software application than a Millenial or another Xer.
Our internal battles around technology indicate that the way in which we connect with our customers is equally problematic. To remain viable, organizations must consider the generational preferences of their target markets and developing markets. Apple stores provide customer service advice via flat panel displays. Banks have flourished thanks to ATMs and other online banking services. Gas stations, grocery stores and other retailers benefit from self-service and self-check-out systems.
At the same time, some state government services (mostly accessed by older Boomers and Traditionalists) are being required to provide real, live humans on the phones instead of phone trees and answering services. A new search engine was just launched (with Baby Boomers and Traditionalists in mind) that provides "age-appropriate" search results: Cranky.com.
Ask yourself, who are your customers? To what generation do they belong? And how are we interacting with them? IBM, a technology giant, has published a fascinating study about the generational divide. Download and read more about how you can bridge the technology divide.
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