Photo by Alex Knight (unsplash.com)

Everything can be replaced by technology except this

Today, there really is an app for everything.

As long as you know what you are looking for, within a few clicks/searches away you are most likely going to find an app, developed in the past decade, that aims to completely re-invent the way things are done.

Everything became easy, more efficient.

It is unbelievable how the introduction of iPhone had since changed our behaviour, and the way business is being built and conducted.

Lets talk about technology for business today because many of us are fearing the fact this coming wave of technology innovations will eventually replace human.

Without looking like a technology geek, lets talk about a few high level, emerging trends:

  1. Cloud servers are enabling computationally intensive tasks to be run and accessed anywhere in the world — so that onsite manual interventions can be minimised. And as a result of that, all remaining mechanical tasks can be shifted offshore.
  2. Drones are enabling inaccessible or difficult locations to become more readily accessible — so that deliveries/surveillance/rescue missions may eventually be replaced by small machines.
  3. Artificial Intelligence are becoming cleverer by the day, that it is effectively replacing all customer services, we have seen this in McDonalds, immigration counters and in banking services.
  4. Driverless car is no longer a concept, you can already see them in the US.

These are just things that came straight on top of my head.

The fact that this is not a technology blog I don’t intend to act anymore cleverer (or dumper) than I look like I am.

The point I would like to bring out is that everywhere we go, we have begun to see revolutions and changes in behaviour. Corporations around the world are changing rapidly to adapt to this changing environment.

Like the CEO of Citigroup Vikram Pandit recently said that the development in technology could see some 30% of banking jobs disappearing in the next 5 years.

I for one would be fearing for my future if my role can eventually be replaced by an AI that could do the button clicking for me. And when that AI is clever enough to even perform the checking part, then the whole department could possibly shrink by 90% and it will still function.

So the risk is real.

However, when there is risk, a positively-minded person will always respond by saying risks always come with opportunities.

I agree with this point.

I am not asking you to start learning “How to build an app”.

I am saying, which is something I strongly believe in, is that whilst technology enables you reach the world at the palm of your hands, at the click of a few buttons, what it cannot replace is:

The STRENGTH of a relationship.

By strength I mean the depth of a relationship, the trust and feeling of comfort that can be felt between people.

And let me explain that to you.

In the information age, we are continuously bombarded with waves after waves of information. Take Facebook as an example, every 5 posts I see something that is “sponsored” and every post that I somewhat interacted with in the past have begun sending me information that I don’t necessary need. Information like this occupies more space on my Facebook app than my friends’ updates.

Crazy.

When we are overflown with information, the next logical step to do is to filter (or even ignore) information — hence digital marketing was born to make sure that whatever you do, you simply CANNOT ignore them!

Not sure if you knew, that even Mark Zuckerberg himself rarely looks at the contents sitting in his Facebook, most if not all of his updates are done by someone else he hired to maintain his presence and profile.

This is rightly so because otherwise he would never have any work done trying to interact with his 10million+ followers!

A lot of us have begun to treat information in Facebook as spam. By spam I mean we are beginning to have reservation about the trustworthiness of the information we receive. (coupled with the effect of photoshop if a company is selling cosmetic or weight-loss related products)

So when we really want to buy something, choosing the feel-right product and making the feel-right decision becomes an exercise of trust and comfort.

Who can provide that trust and comfort to customers?

That’s right — YOU can do that.

Digital marketing helps the company reaches more people so that customers discover your existence. Then it would be your job to build that relationship and trust to complete the deal. When customers trust you, they will happily buy product A off you, followed by product B and so on.

This is particularly important if what you are selling involves long-term contracts, like an insurance contract or a wholesale supply contract or asking customers to pay a subscription fee to commit to a service.

The relationship you build with the customer, can NEVER be replaced by technology.

So I urge you, to become aware of the importance of good communication skills today because it will become increasingly more important as technology continues to advance.

We are not just talking about writing high-impact emails or giving feedback to colleagues or dealing with difficult customers.

We are talking about building relationships to the extent that business means partnership.

Communication skills are also finding its way to re-invent itself and is becoming more important by the day.