Why “Square” Missed the Boat

Square is an instant pay company that allows you to swipe your customer’s credit cards via your phone or tablet computer, freeing up your business to move away from the storefront and cash register. For someone like me selling crafts at fairs and co-ops, this technology is ideal and a huge benefit to me and my customers.

But thanks and with full credit to Square, I use Pay Pal.

Square’s business model is to do everything on-line. Fine, as far as it goes. But when going through the application process, their software came back that my zip code doesn’t exist.

I’ve checked. It does.

After three tries, Square’s site told me that I didn’t qualify.

Their totally useless web site did have a “contact” section. I wrote my problem out. The site responded that I did not qualify. Period.

I applied to Pay Pal and was immediately accepted.

My point is the growing disconnect with companies today, caused by our over-reliance on technological advances. Simply put, there is no empathy. Web sites do not allow direct contacts, and phones do not allow talking to an actual human.

“Employers Are Looking for New Hires With Something Extra: Empathy” is the title of a column written by Geoff Colvin in the Sept. 22nd issue of Fortune magazine. He points out that I.T. and company executives are beginning to see the discontent of customers using the sterile, impersonal software and web sites of today. Further, the isolated engineer working alone in a cubicle is not the ideal make up of a person designing an interface for live customers.

The coming change is to look for new hires who can understand the person using their products, and their needs for a positive experience. The downside is the impersonal world of social media and computers, totally devoid of a face-to-face life, has limited the pool of potential, empathetic workers.

Square founders Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey would be well served to read Colvin’s column and take it to heart.

 

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