Incorporating Technical Change With Personal Service: A Task That Never Ends
The auction business is changing rapidly, and that presents constant challenges for us. Fortunately, we at Steffes Group serve a customer base with a history of embracing and welcoming change.
“Technology is a tool. It allows people to get involved in auctions who wouldn’t do the travel and the distance to come to an event. They just get on a smartphone and away they go,” says Scott Steffes in a video currently being used a SteffesGroup.com.
But personal service remains critical even for those who come in through a digital doorway.
“From a service standpoint, there’s no difference between the customer who bids online and the one who participates in person. Both expect courteous, professional service. They expect to deal with auction staff who understand their needs and explain things clearly. Ultimately, it’s still a people business,” said Steffes.
“Change is inevitable in any industry, and especially in the ag world. Farmers, in my opinion, are some of the greatest innovators out there. So they not only accept change, but I think they expect it, and they’re quick to tell us of changes they’d like to see,” he said.
One term often heard in the auction industry is, “the death of distance.”
“It’s become a cliché, but that’s because it is such a helpful concept. On the Internet, the person thousands of miles away is on an equal footing with the one next door. It’s our job – as auction professionals – to ensure them all a fair and intuitive platform. We want everybody to know exactly what to do next, whether in the room or bidding remotely. That’s a tough order, but it’s what we shoot for,” said Scott.
Integrating technology into the auction industry calls for a lot more than online bidding. Sellers expect us to keep exploring better ways to communicate their assets. “Getting everything on the Internet is just the beginning. We’re constantly working, learning and improving on our techniques for advertising, using video, meeting due-diligence requirements, qualifying bidders, conducting transparent and fair bidding and much more. Our video about the use of technology is one part of that, but it’s something that goes on every day – much of it behind the scenes. We probably learn something new every day,” he said.