One of the big fears of those who work on the operational side of college admissions was that they would inadvertently send out admit letters to the wrong batch of students. It seems inconceivable, but it happens with surprising regularity. It’s a vivid reminder that behind “automatic” technology is a human who sometimes makes mistakes.

This week I received two notices about electronic rewards which were not sent correctly. A fast-food chain sent me an “oops we forgot your birthday” ice cream cone – fully admitting that they made an omission rather than picking up on my sentiment from yesterday’s dot that they were “extending my birthday celebration.”

Then I received notice from a department store that the five bonus dollars they sent to me were in fact sent in error and they were deactivating them! Seriously!? Why admit a mistake, disappoint a customer, and spend the time/energy/expense to rescind five bucks – the whole point of which is to get you in the store to spend more than five bucks in return?

Technology is a wonderful tool – when the people operating it do so correctly. It’s easy to automate on rote but far more effective to add a human element of review to the program. Take that extra step of caution to ensure you’re using automation to advance your brand instead of apologizing for it.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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