Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Are We Using Automation Too Much?

Some of my automation "pet peeves" are:

* Computers answering phones
* Computers making phone calls
* Focusing on quantity vs. quality

Computers have been answering phones for many years now, and there are some useful aspects to it. You can direct the caller to the right department without human intervention, and get their account number so the person who takes the call will not have to ask for it, type it in, and wait for the screen to come up.

However, some companies WAY overdo this technology! It's to the point where you can't even get a live person on the phone in some companies. Sometimes, I have a question or problem that a computer just can't answer. If I thought the computer could answer it, I would probably have gone to their website to look instead of picking up the phone!

Computers making phone calls is newer, and this one REALLY bugs me! When your phone rings, do you want to hear a computer talking and not be able to interact? I don't! In fact, I hang up immediately. It is fine, if you have a recorded message that explains something very well and you don't want everyone to have to learn it, to direct people to call and listen to that message.

But it should always be their choice and they should know they will not be able to interact. I find this form of automation particularly disturbing when it comes to calling businesses. The person answering the phone is typically quite busy. The last thing they need in their day is a phone call from a computer!

I am seeing many people pushing automated leads generation systems these days. They claim to get you 50-100 leads in a week, or sometimes in a day! If you can turn these leads into business without any human interaction, fine. Automate it.

But if human interaction and relationship building will ultimately be used, or will produce a better result, then there really is such a things as too many leads. You can only keep track of a certain number of relationships, and where you are with each one.

There is also such a thing as high-quality, targeted leads vs. a warm body at the other end of the phone when you call. Calling people with no interest in what you have to offer is a complete waste of time. Yet, I feel that any system which delivers as many leads as they promise is probably collecting low-quality leads that are not targeted.

Is your business a "people business?" Do you care about your customers and their satisfaction? Do you care about your company's (or your personal) image? Do you want to follow up with less people and have them be the right people, or waste all day calling hundreds of the wrong people?

Automation has a place. Let's keep it where it belongs!

By : Dale_Reynolds

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