Corporate America, take note: Some of you just don't get the SOHO experience.
Today's SOHO workers strive to be professional corporate citizens, using technology and tools that mimic those they once used in the corporate tower. Heed their words: Your product offerings and customer support often don't deliver the human contact, expertise and speed needed to help homebased business owners who are overwhelmed, understaffed and generally stretched way too thin.
Customer service is iffy, often linked to voice-mail hell. Tech support? Don't make them laugh. They don't have the time to deal with that. Homebased business owners need software that helps them operate faster and more efficiently, computers and other tools that help them multitask, and customer service representatives who are trained to anticipate and service the specific needs of the homebased worker.
Serving these very specific needs for individual customers "may be unrealistic and seem over-demanding, and the economics may not make sense, but it's what we need," Julie Morgenstern, a long-time at-home worker and author of Organizing from the Inside Out, (Owl Books, $15) told 200 attendees at the recent SOHO Summit in Carlsbad, California. "If I, as a small business, can come across as a big business, that's going to help me thrive. I need vendors who get it and feel excited to be a part of our team. Our strength gets us through it, but we need your expertise."
Guess what, corporate denizens? Morgenstern isn't alone.