So that’s it. On 4th December out go driving test stalwarts such as the three point turn to be replaced by the challenge of following sat-nav instructions and parallel parking. Presumably to reflect the fact that only 52% of car drivers currently have a sat nav, one in five candidates will be expected to follow road signs to a destination rather than rely on technology. But for the rest; the challenge will be to drive for twenty minutes following a device supplied and set up by the examiner.
Why the change? Quite simply because the current test was seen as no longer accurately reflecting current driving patterns. With road collisions accounting for over a quarter of all deaths for those aged between 15 and 19, the new test has been designed to examine areas which are seen as major contributors to road safety.
So the sat nav test isn’t simply a way of testing how young drivers follow instructions, it also enables the driving test to run over more high speed routes, seen as a major contributor to road fatalities. Similarly, with the independent driving element of the test being doubled to 20 minutes candidates will have to be more proficient at driving without instruction, something which they will encounter as soon as they pass their test.
The revision to the driving test in order to reflect both changing patterns of technology and the habits of road users is a lesson which we can take into other fields. Take business telephony for example. The days in which all telephone contact took place over landlines are long gone. Nowadays customers are as likely to use mobile or even VoIP as their contact medium of choice. Responding to these changing patterns of use helps businesses to not only stay current but also to enhance their service offering.
For example, listeners to BBC Radio 5 may have recently noticed that the contact telephone number changed to an 0808 code. This change enabled those calling the station from mobiles to have the same free call tariff as was previously enjoyed by those calling from landlines. It’s a simple change but one which is designed to encourage mobile users to make their contribution to news and debate.
But free call is not the only option. Businesses which decide to make calling easier but not go down the free call route may instead opt for a local regional number, or indeed a national or international phone number depending on their customer base. With a wide range of number and number types to choose from the golden rule is to match the numbers on offer to customer preference in order to offer a personalised and targeted contact option.
This personalisation can also extend to the way in which calls are handled. With caller recognition built into an automated switchboard option, calls can be diverted to an appropriate department or individual, providing an instant and instantaneous level of call answering. Similarly, offering a pin code option for key customers could enable them to pick up or leave messages in a secure and personalised area, again delivering a more targeted service.
Nothing stays the same, particularly where technology is concerned. Staying current, regularly reviewing and being prepared to change service offerings in response to changing levels of technology and customer expectation is the key to success.