Robots and machines are going to replace us all.
That’s the message a lot of tech gurus are babbling about at the moment.
We’re increasingly living in an age of automation.
Large companies doing all they can to cut costs, streamline processes and, so they say, make their customers lives easier.
Tell that to the people who designed the Self-Service machines in the Tesco store I went into this week.
Thinking I’d save time I decided to use the self-service tills rather queue up in the 10 items or less line.
Mistake number 1.
The first couple of items I scanned went through fine then I began feeling the rage of automation!
My third scanned item requested me to call for assistance. Which I did.
A member of staff came over and rectified the problem.
Then on the next item it happened again, and again, and again.
So, by taking the quick option I took a lot longer than I would have had I queued.
The people in the ten items or less queue whizzed merrily by me.
My frustration left me literally banging my head against the machine.
Had I chosen the human option of being served at the till it would have been quicker.
But there is a bigger point here than my own negative self-serve experience.
I think that businesses that focus on human interactions will succeed even more in the robot bores age.
I wrote in my last blog about the power of picking up a phone and calling people.
That relationship building technique is multiplied times ten when it’s face to face communication.
When someone is being genuinely helpful and friendly it makes you feel good. When it’s a business transaction it makes you feel more trusting and loyal to the company or person you are dealing with.
No one in history has had a friendly experience with a self-service machine. Or felt they’d been listened to by it.
The problem with automation is that it lacks warmth and personality.
And for me that presents a big opportunity for businesses that get the human side of things right.
Thanks for reading.