Bring back the humanity!

Ashim D’Silva

Mince nothing: We’re turning into robots. It’s happening, and logically, it makes a lot of sense: better efficiency, less thinking and always someone else to blame.

Legal systems suffer horrendously from this since no one wants to be the one to make a decision and take responsibility for it. Why? Because logical, sensible decisions apparently aren’t even right anymore (‘right’ here is things you will not get fired for). But this isn’t an open rant against everything, it has much to do with customer service, so let me be specific.

To deal with an increasingly vast customer base, large companies have turned people into answering machines that know nothing about the questions they are answering. This is as efficient as an FAQs page: 80% of people that have the same problem get in and out fast, and I appreciate it when I call in with a simple problem. However, when the problem is more specific, there doesn’t seem to be an intelligent backbone to support this robot army.

The situation then gets amplified when the problem is more abstract, like designing and planning the brand presence of a company. Never in a million years, would I imagine calling a help-centre and asking them what colour my logo should be, and yet this is vastly what happens. Given a client’s industry, thought-free designers put this client into a box, produce a robotic image tweaked where required (include the owner’s favourite colour) and we’re done.

In my opinion, all this started because somewhere it became too inconvenient to fail. Possibly from the fear of replacement, possibly from growing stacks of ‘work’, or a dozen other reasons, it suddenly has become far easier to take the no-thinking, broad quick-fix, rather than solve a specific problem. This is incredibly sad, because there is no way you can do anything new, if you already have answers to everything. Failure is by no means a bad thing: dust off, stand up and start again.

To err is human!

More importantly though, be individual, be real, and be you. And give your clients the benefit and respect of an individual as well. Big companies releasing pop music, psychologically devised to appeal to some deep rooted animal instinct in us, want everyone to be the same because it’s cheaper to market to us then. But there’s over 6 billion of us, and it’s always growing. Surely there’s a market there for everybody.

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