Artificial intelligence can now win a game, recognise your face, even get you fit. But is it always the answer?
Having held senior commercial roles within hospitality for the past 20 years I recently found myself consulting and thrown in at the deep end at European Steel Profiles, a leading drywall manufacturer in West London.
My initial brief had been to drive the marketing, communication channels and introduce a new ESP web site. It appears that many of ESP’s clients had simply lost contact over the past years since the team launched the company in 2015.
My first impression was that manufacturing drywall steel sections was about holding the right raw materials and balance of stock, being based in a great location, introducing good systems and smart logistics and that the interaction that I had enjoyed in the consumer sector would not play a part.
Computers and systems would drive the business!
How wrong was I? It quickly became apparent that here was a sector that totally relied on customer service, great banter with clients, interaction and trust, and delivering more than detailed in the Terms & Conditions. It is about being flexible, going out of your way and performing in a manner that a computer just can’t!
It is refreshing that here is a business that truly puts the customer first and has built its success on the team that it has employed and the understanding that team has with its clients.
Phone conversations are as much about sport, current topics and week end activities…indeed only this Monday morning a customer said “only 4 days till the week-end!”…………..who needs social media to bring a smile to you?
I am not advocating that we throw the computers out of the window quite yet, but it has been a lesson to me that in this demanding sector the art of conversation and interaction remains paramount.