Living in France I quickly realised that small businesses have preference to create connections with customers face-to-face or via the telephone. I am still amazed at how few companies here in France have websites to promote their products or services, and how many business cards I receive without email addresses! And who uses a fax these days?
When our son was due to begin petite section at école maternelle, I tried to find out information about his school on the internet – the curriculum, staff photos, activities – to no avail. No website existed. In fact, I searched many local schools and not one had their own website (though one school had a ‘blog’ with school updates). This would be very rare in my home country; even small kindergartens generally have a website to provide information.
I have also messaged many companies here via their online contact forms with no response. I feel the whole ‘internet/online/mobile’ presence here in France is underutilised and as a consequence many companies and individuals are missing out on retail sales, business connections and providing an avenue for information. I have seen companies put a ‘QR code’ on a flyer with no further relevant information linking to it. I have seen companies release Smartphone applications that don’t serve any purpose other than existing.
I am a mother and I work part-time, but my motivation was to start this blog to provide information in English for local people and tourists alike and I feel proud when I get lovely feedback from readers. Regarding a previous post, I have sent two emails to the Comité Regional for Tourism asking if they also provide information in English for disabled travellers – no surprise, I have had no response to date…so I feel my blog is worthwhile.
Recently, a reader of my blog (thank you!) emailed me requesting assistance with travel information regarding a holiday they are planning to this region as they had received no response from the Tourist Office. I responded as soon as I read their message with answers to their queries and they kindly sent me a thank you message.
I agree that business relations and information will never be replaced by talking to someone face-to-face (or via the telephone) but it is imperative that countries acknowledge technology and move forward with it alongside traditional selling methods or they will be left behind.
I would love some feedback on this post – feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org