It is truly difficult to have a day pass without having a conversation about technology. In fact, its increasingly impossible to go from rising in the morning to dinner without being in direct contact with tech. And in some cases it may be disrupting even our sleep.
This is not the beginning of a luddite missive. Technology has always been transformative in our personal and professional lives. Likewise, we benefit from tools that were simply inaccessible a decade or so ago.
The communications capabilities that were formerly the privilege of massive corporations we now hold in our hands as tablets and smart phones.
Moreover our industry is emboldened to compete on user experience and mobility with the most formidable competitors; as the preferences and wishes of consumer and retail technology has influenced the cloud-based tech solutions we use today.
However there is also an achilles heel to all of this wonderful automation and workflow we can factor in to our business. What was intended to provide a productive and economical foundation to free time and resources for focus on clients, can also be a trap.
In fact, I’ve heard from some advisors who suggest while they have more time for clients, they are instead reducing the time spent with them. In essence, as technology has improved to be able to handle decision-making tasks in client communications (based on preferences set by advisors and clients in CRM or marketing applications, for example), some folks have found themselves increasingly stuck in the big and small screens of those tools more than ever. While this points to the success of technology – it can also open up potential risk in the client relationship.
Some call it the notifications trap. In essence as we leverage tech though integration and at least semi-automation, we become prisoners to monitoring for and acting upon notifications. When we factor in our personal use of devices, this is a full time job.
There are three steps you can take to begin to counter this, and it takes discipline and delegation. This matters even for the sole practitioner, though the delegation can be different.
- Don’t let marketing take a side stage to your operations and service procedures. Clearly how define how you will expedite marketing communications week in and week out, and importantly, how you will measure those activities. This allows you to cultivate a discipline around how and when you carry out these activities. This will help you from feeling you need to constantly eye your screens for feedback.
- Clearly new communications channels like social media cannot simply be reviewed weekly like other analytics and engagement tools. However, you can schedule time into your day to focus in on this segment of communications (as you may already do with your email inbox to prevent extended distractions). Many successful social media users find spacing it across the day works well – time in the morning, perhaps right after lunch and then as you wrap up your day (or if you prefer, a light session after your evening meal).
- If you have ever tried a digital detox, you quickly find that most notifications really are not essential each day. They are the trap referenced earlier. Take the time to walk through your Notifications settings on your smart phone, tablet and computer. Fine tune for those notifications that could have real impact on our day – calendar alerts, private messages and voice calls. The other notifications can wait for your scheduled review sessions, be it for social networks or for analytics review.
As mentioned, the technology have now gives us amazing capabilities. But just because notifications and alarms are built into those tools doesn’t mean we necessarily need them. As you do with any other use of your time each day, judiciously review how much time keeps you staring into digital screens in an ad hoc way. You may find you do recapture a great deal of time to reallocate to those client relationships.