Automation – any serious organization in this age uses some sort of automation, it’s convenient and mostly reliable, but what happens when automation actually leads to failure?

Recently, last night to be precise, I signed up for a free trial for a certain service (whose name I wouldn’t mention). After about a minute I received an email from a member of the customer success team who I’ll call Simon (because that’s his name). It was short and sweet, welcoming me and asking me why I chose to sign up, suggesting I click the reply button and let him know why. I was okay with sharing this information with Simon so I hit reply and sent him a short email telling him why I was willing to give their service a try and how I might be able to convince a few people to use it as well if I liked it. Again, about a minute later, I receive a reply, not from Simon this time but from help informing me that they received my request and that someone from the team would get back to me as soon as possible.

Now I was disappointed. I was of the impression I was talking to Simon and not help nor was I looking for support. Why would Simon think I needed support when he was the one who asked me to let him know what I thought of his service?

I’m sure this wasn’t intentional on Simon’s part. The problem is Simon and his team haven’t implemented a rock-solid workflow and this can be detrimental to their brand. These days, people hate it if they think they’re talking to someone only to realize they’re just part of a set process of automation. With the right workflow, automation can be personalized and extremely successful. The moment I hit that reply tab, Simon and his team should have moved me away from their auto respond process and had Simon send a personal response. Simon did send a personal response a few hours after Help, but at this point the damage had already been done.

While this is a simple automation mishap that Simon and his team might be able to get away with mostly because I was already signed up before the realization that I was in the matrix. Errors in automation can be the reason you lose subscribers, leads or even customers. As you build a workflow be very careful you don’t give people the impression they’re just part of a desperate process to generate leads and close sales, build personal interactions and intuitive workflows that show you genuinely care.