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February 2005

Overcoming “We’ve Always Done It This Way” Syndrome (sidebar)

By Tracey Schelmetic, Editorial Director
Customer Interaction Solutions® magazine

Throughout time, technological advancements have had to find a way to cure “we’ve always done it this way” syndrome. Mr. Biro, inventor of the ball point pen, faced a staunch set of detractors unwilling to give up their beloved inkwells and fountain pens. Fax machines were a newfangled nightmare for corporate executives fond of the telex machine. Secretaries and office workers the world over grumbled over the shiny new PCs on their desktops, bargaining with their employers to keep their familiar IBM Selectrics. In my estimation, the only individuals who were happy about the rise of the telegraph killing the Pony Express were the ponies.

The telecommunications industry has been particularly vulnerable to the malaise called “But I don’t WANT to learn a new way.” There is nothing more personal than the way in which we communicate with others. A new propulsion systems for spacecraft? A better method for car assembly lines? “Who cares…it doesn’t affect me personally. But don’t even think about taking my land line away.”

“We’ve Always Done It This Way Syndrome” goes a long way in explaining the fits-and-starts adoption and growth of IP telephony in business. Many corporate executives still aren’t exactly sure what is, and don’t really want to know for fear it’ll change “things.” Ignorance is bliss, etc. And if I don’t know about it, then I’m not obliged to purchase it, for it’s foolish to spend money on something I don’t understand, right? Human nature has ever been the “brakes” of technological advancement.

When an unwillingness to learn about, let alone adopt, new technologies begins holding businesses back, it’s time for education. It’s time to learn the what, why, how and where of new methods. IP telephony in the contact center is one such technology. Companies are standing on a precipice, and the deadline is fast approaching when they must make the decision to go forward or dissolve into rust.

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