Are You An Automaton?

For many companies, overrelying on automation can make brands come across as insensitive automatons.

Are You An Automaton?

When technology is great, it’s really great.

It knows you, anticipates your needs, and makes the complex simple and in some cases, delightful. But when it’s bad, it can be really bad. Maddening, irritating, and potentially relationship-ending. Nothing can break a relationship with a brand faster than a bad experience. And unfortunately, technology can be an accelerator.

This is especially true with automation. The loss of authenticity and sincerity associated with automation, from voice dialers and tweet-bots to automated chatters, can be much more devastating than any potential efficiency gained from the interaction. For many companies, an overreliance on automation can make brands come across as insensitive automatons.

Nothing is more obvious and artificial than the prescheduled tweets that may have been relevant two weeks ago but have passed their shelf life. And everyone knows that the “live chat attendant” isn’t often alive or live. Who hasn’t had the pleasure of repeating your frequent flyer or bank account number into the phone 12 times before screaming for an agent? Or asking for help when choosing between two products on an e-commerce site and the chat agent simply repeats the three key features? And my personal favorite, the retargeted ad that follows me long after I made my purchase, continuing to highlight the revolutionary deal that I am passing up.

However, when used correctly, automation can enhance customer experiences, improve selection of complex products, and even save lives.

Automation is a key aspect of medical device companion apps that are swelling in popularity. The nudges, reminders, and tracking provided by these tools are driving better outcomes for patients, better conversations with providers, and better connectivity within the care community. A recent study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago reported significantly better outcomes for cancer patients who submitted weekly reports of their symptoms compared to those who had the traditional CT scan every 12 weeks.

And studies show that while ultra high-end investors are sticking with traditional investing services, the upper and middle investment markets are comfortable with augmenting financial advice with automation. These disruptive services have inspired big banks to rethink their service offerings, enabling more effective decision making and providing real-time insight and guidance based on preferences, risk profiles, and market conditions.

Automation is a channel like anything else. What matters is what you funnel through it and whether or not it enhances people’s lives.

If you want to take advantage of automation:

Automation doesn’t have to come off as cold and robotic, and it doesn’t when capturing or delivering information that enhances someone’s life.