One of the few perks that I have always enjoyed from this travel-intensive job is to wake up at the crack of dawn, open my hotel room door, and find a freshly delivered newspaper within arm’s reach. I know what you are thinking, but yes, this technology evangelist still enjoys catching up with world events the old fashioned way, with a cup of chai tea and the feel of soft newspaper in my hands. During one recent trip, I read an article in USA Today by Adam Sylvain titled “State laws let telephone companies end land-line services,” regarding new legislation being passed by some states to end these services.
Those of you who grew up in homes with multiple telephones may not appreciate the effect this article had on me, but it took me right back to third grade, growing up in Bombay (now Mumbai). Like every other family in India, we had petitioned the Indian government for a phone and a line, and were put on a waiting list. After seven years, we were finally blessed with a big, old, clunky, black rotary phone (the kind that you might see in an Alfred Hitchcock movie). While riding the school bus, I would trace the rickety, archaic phone lines, some of them fallen on the road due to monsoon season, wondering which ones connected to my friends’ houses.
Today’s young consumers don’t even bother using a land-line to communicate. For this generation, speaking on the phone is not important at all. A phone is now merely one of the many devices they have at their disposal to communicate nonverbally, along with SMS, internet based services, and mobile apps. This communication shift has caused many companies to take a hard look at how they allow their customers to interact with their contact centers in order to serve the needs of this telephone-dissing generation. It is evident by the various mobile app services provided by contact centers. I am constantly designing architectures to route media like SMS, Mobile Application IVRs, Mobile Video chats etc.
So readers, many of you from my generation or older, do you share my nostalgia for landlines or have you embraced mobile, or both? Either way, if any of you by some chance still have your old rotary phone from the 70’s, 80’s or even 90’s, don’t throw it out. You can use your new mobile device to sell it online, during your commute to work.