Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is geography a thing of the past? I don't think so.

"If you know how to use technology to your advantage, geography is a thing of the past." --Peter Shankman
Image: jscreationzs /
I saw this posted on Twitter this morning and it got my brain turning. I really like the concept but I don't think it tells the whole story.

I manage the operations at an IT services company. Our bread and butter is providing remote technical support to business customers all over the world. Our service model works very well and we have excellent customer satisfaction ratings.

However, there is a percentage of our customers that do not want remote service. They want a person to sit with them and guide them through the process. They want to be able to look someone in the eye to gauge the sincerity of a solution or offering. These people will usually take remote support if that is the only option but it is not their preference.

I can relate to this feeling.

I have similar issues with online purchasing. I have a real mental block when it comes to buying items on eBay. I understand the security and technology (I am also a security consultant) and I believe that the security is reasonable. But, when it comes to laying my money on the line, I much prefer being able to look at a product myself and judge the trustworthiness of the seller in person.

This is the reason that I tend to buy a lot of my items on Kijiji instead. It gives me that in-person comfort.

I don't have the same hangups when it comes to purchasing new products. I regularly shop online for new items from reputable deals.

Maybe that is the difference, commodity products or services have an inherent trust value that lends them to remote service. The trust in the commodity service out-ways the distrust of geographic removal.

I'm not sure that any amount of technology will appease my tinfoil-hat-wearing-mind. We will continue to provide remote support and I will continue to buy things online but I expect that there will always be a certain disconnect that technology can't fix.

What do you think about technology removing geographic boundaries? How much is truth and how much is myth?

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