Reflecting on the holidays, it was another blur of wrapping paper, egg nog and pine needles. Surviving the season is always dependent upon prioritizing time among immediate family, friends and relatives.

Cards have long been the substitute for in person celebrating, but — for better or worse — I’m finding texts, emails and even social media posts are increasingly accepted forms for spreading holiday cheer.

I personally prefer face-to-face (and not FaceTime) interactions, even if it’s just the obligatory annual 2-minute conversation with a distant relative. It’s always a worthwhile connection, however brief.

The same can be said for precision specialists when dealing with their smallest of customers. A personal touch is often cited as a distinguishing factor in customer service and visibility goes a long way in forging trust with farmers.

Our recent online poll ask dealers to identify their preferred method of contact with customers and the majority (38%) favor face-to-face communication. But 28% prefer a phone conversation, either office or cell, and another 23% like text messages.

While there is no substitute for in-person interaction, there are certainly convenient alternatives that dealers and their customers are willing to utilize in the interest of efficiency. Remote support service is one area growing rapidly as specialists look to reduce their travel time and customers’ down time with real-time tools to troubleshoot technology problems.

It seems likely that this trend with continue as remote support tools are further refined and dealers develop billable plans to track time spent logging into a customer’s monitor.

But just how common this form of communication will become remains to be seen and if the industry will reach a point where virtual diagnosis of precision problems will replace the physical on-farm troubleshooting as the standard.