Term Paper: Technology Impact

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Technology has become an important aspect of society. Advents in technology have forever changed the manner in which people live and how businesses function. The purpose of this discussion is to explain the impact of technology on customers.

Introduction of New Products

New technology products are revealed to customers in many different ways. One of the more popular technology companies, Apple, has a unique way of introducing new products. The company will generally do a reveal of the new product that gives customers a sneak peak at what the technology will do. The company then releases the date that the technology will be available to the public and how much the product will cost. For instance the iPhone was first introduced at a Macworld convention in 2007. Additionally "Apple also supported the phone in a flurry of television, web-based and print ads designed to show off the disappearing and reappearing touch keypad. Jobs focused on this feature during his Macworld announcement, and subsequent Apple advertising efforts have showcased this feature repeatedly in initial "how-to" TV spots created by TBWAChiatDay (squidoo.com) (Mickalowski, et al. 264)."

This type of introduction serves three purposes. First it serves as a demonstration of what the new product can do as and how it could be of benefit to the customer. Second it builds up anticipation so that when the technology is introduced to the public people will want to purchase the product. Third it serves the purpose of increasing Apples stock price because investors know that people are going to be purchasing the product in the near future.

Other companies choose to introduce new products via their websites or as part of special promotions at stores that they have partnered with. For instance some cell phones that offer new technologies are only available through certain providers. T-mobile has certain cell phones that at&T does not and vice versa. In some cases introducing technology in this way can have a negative impact on customers because they may want a cell phone that is not available through their provider.

Value-Added

The term value-added refers to "the enhancement added to a product or service by a company before the product is offered to customers ("value added")." There are many examples in value added technologies. One of the most prominent involves merchant processing technology. According to an article entitled "Research Examines Value-Added Technology and Merchant Acquirer Account Attrition," "as merchant processing technology has evolved, and its variations and varieties have become more diverse, an exceedingly large number of entities have gained a very significant footprint within the merchant card services space while participating only in auxiliary capacities in the payments value chain (Research Examines Value-Added Technology…')." For customers the value added means that credit card payments for goods and services can be made more quickly and conveniently. This has a positive effect on business all over the world because it means that the pace of conducting business is faster and business can be conducted 24 hours a day in any place in the world.

As it relates to technologies associated with banking such as ATM's, Debit cards, Online Banking and bill pay there have been many advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of ATM's is primarily convenience. Most stores have ATMs which means that people do not have to go to the bank to get money. In addition debit cards are beneficial because they act as electronic cash and people do not have to carry around real cash. Online banking and bill pay has also been beneficial because they allow customers to check balances and pay bills in a timely manner (Servon & Kaestner). Most banks will even pay your bills automatically. This reduces late fees and prevents overdrafts.

Support Plan

The type of support plan provided by a company depends upon the nature of the product. Most companies will include an instruction booklet with the product, a toll free telephone number that allows customers to communicate with a technician or someone who is trained offer customers the correct support, and in general the company will have support available through their website. These methods of support are utilized in the following ways

1. Instruction booklet -- the instruction booklet generally contains all of the information that one would need to run the technology appropriately. Most booklets are specific to the make and model of the technology and have pictures and detailed instruction on how to operate they technology. In addition these instruction booklets have indexes so that customers can look up specific issues that they have questions about. Most instructions booklets are written in English and Spanish.

2. Toll Free Telephone Support- Customers are given a toll free telephone number that allows them to speak one on one with a person. In some cases these toll free calls are handled by automated systems. These systems are designed to answer questions that may not appear in the instruction booklet. Such a support is also necessary for those who are blind or have impaired vision because it allows people with such conditions to receive the support that they need. In addition in some cases people just feel more confident about using the technology when they know they can speak to someone of they run into problems with the technology.

3. Website support- website support is also utilized as a convenient way to ask questions. Most websites provide a list of frequently asked questions (F.A.Q.s). The purpose of the list is to provide answers to the question that are most common. In addition most websites allow customers to contact customer service representative via email or even real-time chat so that questions can be answered. Websites are also critically important because most technologies have glitches and websites are an easy and cost effective way to provide customers with patches, downloads and instructions when glitches arise.

Each aspect of the support system is designed to fit the needs of different end users. Companies recognize that there are different types of people that purchase and use their products and as such different types of support systems must be developed to ensure that al users have access to a support feature that is beneficial to them. For example, an individual who works as a software engineer may not have many questions about the operation of the technology. However, a person who just purchased a new laptop and has never had a computer before may require a great deal of support to operate the technology effectively.

Overall the presence of an efficient support system can determine whether or not customers feel comfortable using a specific technology. When customers feel that they do not have the proper support they are less likely to use the technology and unlikely to purchase from a company in the future. With these things understood, the proper support system can have a positive effect on the manner in which customers view technology.

Partnerships

Partnerships are an important aspect of technology and the impact that technology has on customers. Partnerships allow certain technologies to operate more smoothly and thus have a positive impact on consumers. For instance, one of the reasons that Apple chose to partner with at&T was because of the size and quality of at&Ts network. There were so many customers already subscribed to at&T that Apple viewed such a partnership as being mutually beneficial. Not only is at&T one of the largest cell phone providers but the company also had one of the fastest and most available networks. This meant that the iPhone applications could run smoothly and in the manner that Apple intended.

Partnerships have also occurred between Visa/MasterCard and banking institutions as it relates to the development of check cards. Check cards allow customers to use their debit cards at locales that accept Visa or MasterCard. In so doing the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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