Automation vs personalisation: a false dichotomy



Automation and personalisation appear to run in different circles. Automation in cold, methodical logic, and personalisation in warm human understanding and flexibility.

But beyond face values, this automation vs personalisation contrast presents a false dichotomy. There are other forces at work making the two seem incompatible.

Here’s a look at how automated business processes and a personal touch aren’t the enemies you might first assume.


Automation vs personalisation

In business, personalisation means tailoring your pages and messages to the interests of each consumer that interacts with you. It’s little things like using their name, and bigger things like targeted discounts.

The goal of personalisation is to generate a sense of connection and a closer relationship with the customer. It indicates that you know, appreciate and care about them. And you’re going the extra mile to prove it.

Automation, meanwhile, works using rules, scripts and logic. It’s great for repetitive processes. It’s adept at data handling and storage without human error, and it’s a must-have productivity and efficiency driver.

Automation software follows a prescribed, regimented path. It’s not flexible or empathetic and it doesn’t lend itself to creating a human touch. As such, it appears a stark opposite to personalisation.


Overuse, not incompatibility

The impression that automation kills personalisation efforts isn’t as black and white as the two being incompatible. Rather, it’s the way you use automation that can hurt your personalisation efforts.

Automation hurts your personalisation when it sends your customers robotic, impersonal content. Using too much automation means that there isn’t enough of a human touch. Automation overuse equals impersonal results.

And this issue of overuse can go the other way, taking the form of over-personalisation. When you personalise too much, the consumer experience becomes creepy and intrusive.

But when you blend automation with human flexibility, this becomes less of a problem. Indeed, it’s not a case of automation vs personalisation. It’s a case of balance vs overuse. So, then, automation and personalisation can come hand in hand.


Automation achieving personalisation

Rather than automation vs personalisation, careful use can mean that automation helps personalisation. (Rather than hinders it.)

For example, your customer service team might use automation to manage emails and support requests. Due to its ability to parse emails, you can set your automation to personalise its auto-responses. For instance, by using the customer’s name for that personalised touch.

Or, consider automation’s ability to manage data. You can use automation to segment your audience based on their purchase history, interests or buying habits. Then, your team can create personalised content for those groups.

Plus, you can set up personalised marketing materials based on customer behaviour. For example, a customer buys a certain type of product from your site. This acts as a trigger for your automation to automatically send a thank you message with information about other items like it.


A false dichotomy

Automation vs personalisation is a false dichotomy. While, at face value, they may seem opposite, careful use and balance can see the two working together.

So, is it time you used automation to further your personalisation efforts? Get started with a 30-day free trial of ThinkAutomation.


Useful links

The golden hammer approach to automation

The Boeing 737 and the risks of automation over-reliance

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