Great article Wayne Chang. Automation for the sake of automation shows businesses’ lack of understanding their customers. I follow the non-automated approach to all social media accounts I run. Yes, they are manually curated. Yes that takes more time and effort. But my rewards are much higher levels of engagement and actual conversation (shocker, my social media is actually social — not an automated diatribe yelling at annoyed people).
The human touch is exactly what Customer Service and Customer Experience should be. It should be personal, tailored and understanding. Any company (with a great or sub-par offering) can out maneuver their competition because of the bond they’ve forged with customers.
More companies and the people in those roles would be wise to double down on this approach. I’ll definitely agree (although I started reading hesitantly) that your proactive approach does beat the reactive approach of Zappos. I would caveat that a good surprise is still a good surprise, but the one without disappoint will carry more weight and longevity.