We are encroaching on the age where automation and software take over more jobs at a faster rate than ever before. AI is learning what we say to eachother that makes us take action, what we see in our images and videos, and understanding our speech. This is not inherently bad, unless we do it wrong.
I see a lot of companies and entrepreneurs focused on scaling AI and chatbots. This is such a buzz that the companies often times prioritize the tool over the EXPERIENCE. Every interaction we have with a company is a chance to delight and surprise our customers.
Let me tell you a story (you know that stuff I always teach) about a recent interaction I had with two chatbots. I feel like a the new joke will be: two chatbots walked in to a bar…. I digress.

Automation Fail…

I had been struggling with a product so I visited the company’s website. They had a chat features and I hate spending hours on the phone or days for email so I said “hey, why not.” I typed in the chat box to say hello and a “bot” with a human name said hi.
I asked my question and hit enter. Waiting anxiously for some amazing response, it came back with “Not sure I understand. Do you mean …..? “No!” I said. So I retyped it with a different phrase. It responded with “I think you want …” “No!” I said. So I typed in a different response.
I looked up at the clock and I almost erupted when I saw that I had been typing to this insane robotic idiot for the last 28 minutes. How was this faster? I would have been better off listening to crackling hold music while I waiting for a customer service agent. Atleast then I would be able to multitask.
I walked away from my computer frustrated and defeated. I had felt like the company didn’t care about me or my issues. I felt like this is exactly what we see happening in the world. A lack of empathy to those around us and a prioritization of the TOOL over the Experience.

How to turn this around?

Now I am not saying avoid the chatbot or the automation, but start with your STORY and EXPERIENCE first. To create a WOW experience you have to build the interactions with a human tone and treat them like you want to be treated.
Let me share another experience I had recently for a political campaign. I was on Facebook when a friend shared a post about how to voice your concern to your senator using a text based chatbot. I was not excited about the prospect of being slapped by another virtual robot and losing 30 minutes of my life, but I took a chance because the cause was near and dear to me.
I texted a phrase to the number and I was pleasantly surpirsed when the response came. It said “Hi I’m ResistBot! I am excited to help you share your voice with your elected leaders!”
A second text followed “To deliver letters I need your name. What’s your first name? e.g. Rosie?” . I replied, Keith.
It then asked “What is your last name? e.g. Riveter”. See how it used Rosie Riveter as the name to invoke a feeling of monumental change from an iconic american figure.
Once I gave it my last name it said “Nice to Meet you Keith!” and it attached a fist bump and a robot emoji to that message.
This interaction went on until I had a fully formed letter being sent to my senator.
I found myself smiling at the end of the experience both from having done something that mattered to me and by enjoying it.

Lessons Learned:

Automation is not necessarily bad, but you need to build a story or narrative. You need to know your customer and how you want them to feel at the end of the interactions or after injesting your content. We are bombarded with messages and it is all feeling so ROBOTIC. Be more Human. Care More. You will stand out in the sea of sameness and automation.