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

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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