Here’s an item from today’s New York Times, “As Travel Costs Rise, More Meetings Go Virtual”:
“Corporate training and education is a field many companies are moving online, in part to trim travel costs. Darryl Draper, the national manager of customer service training for Subaru of America, used to travel four days a week, nine months of the year, presenting educational programs at dealers nationwide. Today, Ms. Draper rarely travels and nearly all of her training is done online.
“Previously, Ms. Draper estimated, in six months she would reach about 220 people at a cost of $300 a person. She said she now reaches 2,500 people every six months at a cost of 75 cents a person.”
Brave new world.
The “virtual meetings” suites are becoming more common (Accenture is creating a couple of hundred to eliminate tens of millions in travel expenses) and much more user-friendly every day. Many people say that, two minutes into the meeting, they forget the other parties aren’t actually physically in the room.
By using technology you can reduce your labor intensity as well as increase your revenues. You can personally obtain software as well and/or rent or borrow facilities.
• Virtual meeting environments
• Video on the web and on DVD
• Downloadable courses complete with A/V
• Email coaching with guaranteed response time
• Phone coaching with guaranteed response time
• Conference calling (there are free sites)
You get the idea. Nothing beats face-to-face communication, perhaps (and certainly not in the marketing process), but you don’t always need the ideal, do you? You may want to travel for excitement, enrichment, and opportunity, and that’s fine. But there are fewer reasons why you must these days.
Organizations are drastically reducing their travel, even with their own customers, so there’s no reason why they wouldn’t expect similar relationships with their consultants. After all, shouldn’t you be state-of-the-art?
© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.