We swung by the local McDonald’s the other day for a little coffee after our trip to the trails. No, not a caffeine addict, but I do like my one cup per day. As we were getting our drinks we noticed the automated drink machine. “Look ‘ma’ no hands,” was all I could think. Once your drink order is placed it’s submitted into the system and requires no human attention until the cup is filled with ice and beverage of choice. I sure do hope the machine makes the right decision…
This is really nothing new. In fact, manufacturers have been using automation like this for decades. And if they didn’t, well then we would all be waiting decades for products to be assembled and ready for purchase.
But, is there a time when automation could be inefficient? What comes to mind are things like automated email responses, scheduled tweets and even automated memberships. In order to grow our business we try to tap into as many marketing avenues as possible. But, if we jump on the automation ‘band wagon’, we might want to ask the question: “Are we sending the wrong message?”
Maybe I send an automated response to anyone who contacts me. Great! I’ve not let anyone fall through the “bottomless pit” of an email inbox. But, has that person made a connection with me? More importantly, have I made any type of connection with them?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely a time and a place for using automation, but we should think about using it sparingly and not let our guests feel like they can’t connect with us. I can appreciate the use of automation to help us work more efficiently, but creating real relationships is far more valuable in the long run.