Get your head in the Cloud

Em­brace and ex­pand the use of tech­nol­ogy for your ben­e­fit, writes Nigel Tooth

ABC (Australia) - - TECHNOLOGY - Nigel Tooth App de­vel­oper

Op­er­a­tors in this day and age are be­com­ing more and more re­liant on tech­nol­ogy. Some think this to be a bad thing, but I nat­u­rally look at it as a pos­i­tive. Tech­nol­ogy is here to help you, so em­brac­ing and ex­pand­ing the use of the tech­nol­ogy that you have ei­ther in­vested in, or is avail­able to you, is im­per­a­tive if your busi­ness is to jus­tify that re­source ex­pense.

Too many times I have seen or heard of op­er­a­tors in­vest­ing in tech­nol­ogy only to let it sit by the way­side. We must make use of the tech­nol­ogy at our nger­tips, rather than put it in the ‘too hard bas­ket’. Let me give you three ba­sic ex­am­ples of what I am re­fer­ring to:

OF­FICE COM­PUT­ERS

Yes, they are re­ally nice to type on and send emails with, and you can set up re­ports with them too. But let’s delve a lit­tle deeper and scratch the sur­face. How about set­ting up a Google Drive? That way you can store and ac­cess all of your im­por­tant les, in­for­ma­tion, re­ports, doc­u­ments and so forth, and then you can ac­cess them from any com­puter in the world.

Cloud stor­age is mas­sive now. Don’t be scared to store your les in the Cloud. It’s bet­ter to do that then leave ev­ery­thing on a com­puter hard drive that you might for­get to back up. You can link and share doc­u­ments with other staff in your or­gan­i­sa­tion, and make changes to the same doc­u­ment at the same time from dif­fer­ent com­put­ers in dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions. You can quickly and eas­ily send cal­en­dar re­quests to en­sure all key staff are aware of meet­ings or im­por­tant dates.

A Google Drive (or some­thing sim­i­lar) is sim­ple to set up, will save you time, will en­sure com­mu­ni­ca­tion is ef­fec­tive, and does not limit you to be­ing in the ofce to com­plete your work.

TABLETS

I’m not re­fer­ring to the ones you put in your mouth. Tablets (such as iPads) can be a huge tech­no­log­i­cal benet to a bus com­pany. They are rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive but al­low for mo­bil­ity within an or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Your work­place can quickly be­come a mobile ofce – and even more so if you adopt the above and set-up a Google Drive that can all be ac­cessed on your tablet.

Give your work­shop staff a tablet to use. I did this in my pre­vi­ous life as a bus op­er­a­tor. Our me­chan­ics em­braced it and loved the em­pow­er­ment. In­stead of hav­ing to ll out pa­per­work (and we all know this can be a real bane for some me­chan­ics), they would en­ter their ser­vice in­for­ma­tion onto tem­plates stored on Google Drive in the tablet. Sim­ple! They would take pho­tos of war­ranty is­sues and email them on the go to key per­son­nel. A time saver! A $500 in­vest­ment can save time and prob­lems in the fu­ture.

SO­CIAL ME­DIA

Now I know these two words can send shud­ders down the spines of many bus op­er­a­tors. How­ever, so­cial me­dia can be a pow­er­ful tool if used wisely and cor­rectly.

Firstly, we must re­mem­ber our tar­get mar­ket in this re­gard. Who are they? Not the ofce man­ager, not the me­chanic, and not the bus driver. It is your cus­tomers.

Your cus­tomers may be the lo­cal footy club. They may be 50 schools your com­pany ser­vices, com­pris­ing 2500 stu­dents and 2000 par­ents. They may be the tourists or lo­cals who use your ser­vices through­out the year.

Who­ever they may be, you need to con­nect with them in some way. Con­nec­tion means a re­la­tion­ship. If you can con­nect with your cus­tomers, the long-term benets can be far reach­ing. And one of the eas­i­est (and cheap­est) ways of con­nect­ing is through so­cial me­dia.

Again, we did this in our own com­pany and reached out to our cus­tomers. We wanted to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on our ser­vices to give them a lit­tle bit of em­pow­er­ment. We keep them con­nected to us and they loved it.

Ninety-nine per cent of the com­ments were pos­i­tive. There will al­ways be the 1 per cent that rocks the boat but we know that is the case in ev­ery facet of life.

How­ever, keep­ing your cus­tomers in­formed and up­dated through the use of tech­nol­ogy is a sure way to build a re­la­tion­ship with them.

Imag­ine Com­pany A and Com­pany B both op­er­ate in the same town and have the same-size op­er­a­tion. Com­pany A runs the buses, gives out quotes for char­ters, picks up the school chil­dren, keeps it all sim­ple and doesn’t bother with so­cial me­dia.

Com­pany B does ex­actly the same, but has a Facebook page. One day it sends out a mes­sage to tell the par­ents: “Hi ev­ery­one – one of our ser­vices has been de­layed due to a car ac­ci­dent. All chil­dren are safe and well, they will be home in 20 min­utes.”

The next week it sends out a mes­sage: “School Hol­i­days are com­ing up – have a great time and please drive safely on our roads.”

Sim­ple mes­sages such as these to 2000 con­nected fam­i­lies can give peace of mind and a thought that, “Hey, these guys go the ex­tra mile and re­ally care”.

This may lead the lo­cal coun­cil so­cial club char­ter­ing a bus be­cause the or­gan­iser is a par­ent con­nected to that Facebook page.

It re­ally can be as sim­ple as that.

TECH­NOL­OGY AS A COM­PAN­ION

Tech­nol­ogy is like a good friend. You in­vest in it, spend time with it, em­brace it, don’t ig­nore it, don’t for­get about it, and denitely don’t put it in the ‘too hard bas­ket’.

Let me know if you are ready to em­brace some tech­nol­ogy and we can get you sav­ing time and money rather than wast­ing it.

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