Editor's Comment

Can you have too much of a digital life?

Published:  11 August, 2016

I’ve just finished writing a piece on the digital revolution that is sweeping our industry and I must admit that it has surprised even me! It really is a case that you need to understand how to work online in order to succeed, not just in the automotive industry but in any.

Traditional services, such as booking vehicles in, ordering parts and even the MOT are starting to move online. Forget the paper diary, one product can book, order parts, produce invoices and even remind your customers when their service or MOT is due. Isn’t that much easier than having to contact them yourselves, remembering when they were booked in to start with? MOT centres now have to have an online system to ensure they can carry on offering the service. Some will use tablet computers, others laptops, whatever, garages now have a digital connection.

While the wiz-kids who come in are probably able to get a head start on things like this, those that have been in business for years have to learn a new skill in addition to all the technology that is coming in on vehicles themselves. Yet the garage owners I have spoken to have all said they are up for the challenge. So there is no worry about the digital age alienating technicians that have lived and breathed cars all their lives – something I’m very happy about.

However, while I see the benefits of systems moving online – more frequent updates, the chance to keep pace with the main dealers, I perhaps bemoan the issue of personal time. It is far too easy these days to check your email, while most garages with Twitter and Facebook accounts are constantly updating, after all, a customer can post on them 24/7, therefore so should you. I recently read an article stating that we are so used to digital intrusion that we don’t even notice it as it consumes our time. The article suggested taking part in a ‘digital detox’ where people don’t use their phones, tablets or computers. I was intrigued until I realised that it is virtually impossible, I’m even writing this on a computer after all!

Therefore the digital age is here to stay, the good news is that people are moving with the times. Just don’t let it consume too much of your personal time. I’m learning to turn my phone off in the evenings once again…

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