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WHEN AUTOMATION BECOMES CREEPY

By Sheila Hall, Principal, Insight Analytique

Be Sure Not to Stray into Lazy or Stalking Behavior when Using Automation.

Are you stalking your customers, lurking around your prospect’s online interactions using automated alerts, waiting to pounce?

 

Or are you hiding behind automation, including chat and posting robots, increasingly finding ways never to have to interact with your customers?
Marketing technology automation is meant to keep up with the things we wanted to do all along, but didn’t have the huge staff to implement.

If you haven’t adopted at least some automation technology in your marketing, you are missing out and falling behind. Along this journey of wonderful new technology, we must keep in mind how we come across to customers, current and prospective.

When Follow Up Becomes Stalking

Of course, you know that your potential customer just visited your website and downloaded information, or was on the detail and pricing pages for a product, as your marketing technology has recognized your known prospect and alerted you to their activity. Does that mean you should immediately pick up the phone and call them? “Hello, Mr. Smith! Just saw that you were looking at our website product XYZ pages and downloaded a detail paper. Are there any questions I can answer for you?”

Your motives are probably truly to be of help while this potential customer is doing their research. With current marketing technology, you know, and I know, that you can see their viewing activity on your site, or their download, etc. Your prospective customer may even know it, but now they just feel like you’re watching them. Now they may be hesitant to visit, to download, to interact.

Do this instead …

Trigger an email about the product, or a sequence with helpful information for those interested in XYZ product, and give your direct contact information and willingness to answer questions. Perhaps even follow up the next day with a helpful call to ask if they may be interested in the product and have questions. Whatever you do, don’t write or say, “… because I see you visited the web page.” Don’t lose a warm and trusted relationship out of eagerness. Just be there for them, but give them some space.

When Robots Make You Lazy

When your customer sends in feedback on your product via replying to an email they received, don’t merely send them a link to a survey … with no explanation. Don’t send them a checklist of departments that they should click on in order to paste and re-enter the feedback they just sent so that it fits nicely into your system.

Your technology may have made it much easier to direct communications to the proper department and to populate feedback and responses into nice templates for review, but replying in this way shows a complete disinterest in their feedback just because it’s not convenient for your consumption. In these cases, take that moment to give a good old-fashioned response and pass the feedback on, or enter it into the system yourself. Or perhaps you can come up with a better way to automate this type of feedback when received.

In the old days, perhaps even now, you would have “boilerplate” email responses to use for frequently asked questions. It’s bad form to send a boilerplate response without some personalization to their particular feedback or question. Now there are website ChatBots, social media posting, and more, using automation. These can also be quite impersonal if overused or not customized.

Do this instead …

The proliferation of ChatBots, automated posting, and other robotic interaction has helped to save time and offer quick responses. Keep in mind, just as using a boilerplate response without editing according to the customer’s actual inquiry has always been lazy and uncaring, you must use robotic automation with more personalization and with an eye for when interaction with a human being is in order.

Final Word

Keep a balanced approach in mind. Automation and robotic interaction must help you to be there for your prospect or customer, but not seem to be lurking into their windows. It must assist you in handling more inquiries and interactions in an efficient way, but not replace, you, or your team.

There are many more examples of good and bad use of your automation technology. Please send along your examples, or let me know what other topics you would like to read more about. Send to Sheila@insightanalytique.com

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