When Personalized Automation Goes Wrong

P1000245-565x377We see your automated direct messages on Twitter and sigh. We get those canned responses in Facebook messenger and roll our eyes. And we grimace when we get another “Congrats on your new position!” message from long-lost colleagues on LinkedIn.

Why the annoyance with automation? Automation promised us all a faster, more personalized experience with brands, with our colleagues, with potential contacts. Instead, canned responses have become so routine that they are no longer read as genuine. Instead, savvy consumers and colleagues have learned to see them for what they are: a lazy way to engage a contact without actually spending any time on them. Automation has quickly turned a potentially positive interaction to a profoundly negative one.

Businesses have always been built on relationships, but building relationships costs time and money. Enter automation. Automation gave us those complicated phone trees and that auto-DM feature on Twitter. We’re using different technology to achieve the same impersonalized service outcome that already frustrates us!

Clearly there should be a better way to do business.

In these days of canned auto-responses, sometimes the best way to stand out is to go traditional again. If people are overwhelmed by email and social notifications now, why not turn to a direct mail piece? If we’re craving true connection, how about sending a heartfelt “Congrats!” to an old colleague through email instead of an automated LinkedIn message? Instead of asking someone about their customer service experience through Facebook, how about picking up the phone?

The more digital and disconnected we become, the more powerful these direct acts of connection will be with our customers and colleagues. Try it! We think you’ll like it.

Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley is an award-winning author and advertising copywriter. In addition to creating knock-out content for brands by day, she pens novels and essay collections by night. Hurley's work has appeared in The Atlantic and Popular Science, and she writes regular columns for Locus Magazine.

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