“YOUR CALL is very important to us. Please stay on the line.”
Really? If my call is so important to you, then why isn’t someone there to answer it? Automated phone systems. If you find them a great way to cut costs, press 1. If you find them a great source of aggravation, press 2.
Such is the two-edged sword of technology. We invent things because our intentions are good, but often the consequences don’t match the goodness of our intentions. The guy who invented the phone tree probably did not intend his brainchild to be a way to frustrate the people who call. His vision probably was to make overloaded telephone operators more efficient and to create a gracious alternative to having callers hear a busy signal.
Communication is a constant challenge for all of us. We are busy, understaffed, and working with limited resources. Yet we all value our customers. How do we best communicate with them and with prospective customers whom we hope to serve?
At Trailer/Body Builders,we ask ourselves the same question. How can we best communicate with you and the other tens of thousands of people who make up this industry? The most enjoyable way for us is when we can visit with you face to face, either at a convention or at your place of business. This may be most effective way, but it certainly isn’t the most efficient.
Every way of communicating has strengths and limitations, including tried and true methodologies such as print. That’s why Trailer/Body Buildershas been talking with you and printing magazines since 1959. It’s also why we have been using electronic media—including websites and e-mail newsletter—for roughly 15 years. We want to utilize the strengths of different technologies in order to serve you to the best of our ability.
Recently our corporate computer wizards developed a new web platform that is bumping up the horsepower of our website, www.trailer-bodybuilders.com. We believe it’s a big upgrade from the engine that drove the old site. And we think the new site will make it easier than ever for us to communicate with one another.
Too busy to get it all done at the office? The new website is a lot easier to take with you. Its new engine automatically configures the website so that it displays as beautifully on a smart phone or tablet as it does on your desktop computer.
What if you want to track down information about a certain company or topic? The new search function is much improved, making it faster and easier to find information on a topic or company.
Before electronic search, we often received phone calls from people asking us when a particular story appeared in print. We did what we could to help, searching inadequate memories and an old index card system to see if we could find it.
The upgraded search feature of the Trailer/Body Buildersmakes that job faster and more accurate than before. It doesn’t place you on hold like we used to do. And once you have found that article, check out the bottom of it for some suggestions for other stories you might find helpful.
The new website also includes what we call the reference desk. It’s just in its infant stage, but we are beginning to populate this section of the website with timeless information on shop management, truck body and equipment installation, manufacturing and fabrication, and other ideas that you might use now or next year.
The beauty of electronic media, though, is that it enables us to get the word out instantly. That includes last-minute events and fast-breaking market or economic information that is more valuable if we can get it to you now.
Lastly, we have made it much easier to hear from you—and for you to communicate with others who visit the site. At the end of every story is an opportunity for you to comment on what you have just read. As a registered visitor, your comments can be published right away. You also can choose to remain anonymous, but if you do, your comments go straight to a dour person who decides if your ideas go public or remain your own.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons to have the printed version of Trailer/Body Builders. Magazines are easy to read. They are portable. They don’t break when you drop them or have batteries that go dead. And you can keep on reading when everyone else on the airplane is ordered to put their electronic device in the off position.
So take advantage of the strengths of our print and electronic products. And let us know how we can serve you better. You don’t have to wait for the beep. ♦