While calling a customer service line recently, I experienced an automation merry-go-round that is all too familiar. Sixteen “press ones” later, a pre-recorded voice told me what I already knew. Frustrated, I called back and hit “zero” for the operator. I waited…until one answered and transferred me to someone’s voicemail. A person was treating me like a computer — I was not impressed.

In the age of efficiency, automation is both a blessing and a curse. Knowing that what needs to be done can be done – on time and without misspellings – is reassuring. However, as we speed up with technology, business owners must always maintain the human touch or we’ll forfeit the personal relationships that keep business strong. The best businesses in a given industry are made up of people who, well, like people.

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