The True Value of Facetime

By: Chris Cox

As we kick off the new year, business travel for conferences and events seem to be in full swing. For me, this is an important time for a couple reasons. First I need to be careful about budgeting my time. My role on this team includes weekly (or in some cases, daily) communication with each of our clients. When I travel for an event, this work doesn’t stop, so I need to be extra careful to make efficient use of my time. More importantly, though, trade shows in particular give me an opportunity to connect on a personal level with many of the people I communicate with every day. Slack, email and phone calls are a great primer, but our business thrives on the strengths of its relationships. I always value the opportunity to connect face-to-face with our clients and partners. It’s something I really look forward too. We live and operate in a world that allows for easier and more efficient digital interaction, but I think in-person communication is still critical. So where does traditional face to face interaction fit in?

The tools available to us today have transformed business. They’ve made it easier than ever to remotely interact and work with others. These tools are democratized – we all have access to products and services that help us work efficiently and maximize the value of our time. But this doesn’t change the value of 1:1 communication. It’s impact on our clients’ success is still very real and measurable. It’s important.

Why? If these tools are so great, why is face to face still necessary? A few reasons, I think. First, you can only know someone so well via digital interactions – you complete that picture when you engage 1:1. Second, virtual communication is just that – virtual. Need a real, important answer from someone? Email, slack and phone calls work, but only if there’s a layer of accountability and trust already there. That accountability and trust is still best built in-person. Finally, humans are built to interact. We flourish in one another’s company – tech can’t replace that, entirely. (For fun, check out this Conference Call Parody – I think they nailed it!)

Here’s the deal: there’s no replacement for face-to-face interaction. In-person conversation and interaction allows for things that you just won’t get, or might miss, when you interface digitally. Being there , at least occasionally, let’s relationships grow in a way virtual communication never will match. As we continue to head down a path that relies heavily on technology, we can’t forget this.

Praise for Plymouth Rock

Yesterday, a firm we support did something that inspired us. While I typically don’t publicly point to our clients here on our blog or in a social media context, I’ll occasionally break from that trend when there’s a good enough reason to do so. This firm, and what they did yesterday, presents such an occasion. Read on.

Many Americans know of Plymouth Rock Assurance Company. For those in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, though, the relationship goes well beyond name recognition. There, Plymouth Rock is an institution, and one that our company is very proud to serve. That pride swelled a bit yesterday when I saw the news that Plymouth Rock had launched a comprehensive program to support its customers who have been impacted – and may soon be impacted again – by the government shutdown.

You can read the specifics, here, but I’ll summarize it for you: Plymouth Rock is allowing its impacted customers to pause their bill on existing policies and defer their down payment on any new policy. Further, they’ve announced that will not cancel those customers who cannot pay their bill as a direct result of the shutdown.

Forget your politics for a moment. That’s not what this is about. Instead, focus on the story of a company, a pretty big one at that, doing the right thing for its customers who are vulnerable to a scenario unfolding outside their own control. TSA Agents, air traffic controllers, Veteran’s Affairs (VA) personnel. Scientists and researchers. Parks and Museum workers. Law enforcement professionals. These are just a few examples of the folks who are being impacted.

Like many, I struggle to read through all the spin in the news, today. It’s hard to find a true signal amid the noise. But sometimes, someone does the right thing. When that happens, the news doesn’t need spin; it just needs to be shared. It needs to be acknowledged.

To our friends at Plymouth Rock: well done. And, thank you.

Let’s Connect!