Should automated communication be more or less “human?”

Every day, new articles are written about the death of various sales and marketing vehicles. “Phone calls are dead!” they herald. Or “Why email just doesn’t work anymore.” Or maybe you’ve read “Social media is so 2014.”

And while each of these arguments has its merits, we don’t find ourselves in any of these camps. We don’t think any marketing strategy is dead (even direct mail…)

What we would argue is that the marketing world has simply undergone a fragmentation. This means that savvy salespeople and marketers can no longer rely on a single or even two or three methods of communication in order to effectively do their job.

(You’ll see I seem to interchange the words “communication” and “marketing.” I think they basically mean the same thing in this context.)

I want to re-share a table from Gallup’s report of modern communication:

As you see, the number of ways that we communicate regularly seems to be expanding quickly. Some people prefer option A while others prefer option B.

So if we don’t stand for the death of specific marketing strategies, what do we stand for? The death of manual marketing.

As this world continues to fragment (and it will…), what’s really under threat are people who think that the best way to do their job is still by hand. When you only relied on email to reach your customers, you may have found it reasonable to type and send emails to each of them. But now that you use 16 different methods to reach your customers, doing it manually is a killer.

All of this is a set up for a question that has been on our mind recently. If the way that businesses communicate with people is becoming more automated, do the businesses want people to know this?

Hello? Is this a real person? Maybe? Can you help?

Recently we enabled a feature in our software that allows for day and week parting of automated messages. What this means is that you can decide to send one message to leads who come in in the morning, a different one in the evening, and then even a different one on the weekends.

So let’s assume a lead comes into your website at 3:30AM on a Saturday. If you had the ability to automatically communicate with this lead in one of three ways, which would you choose?

1 (very human) — Send a text at 9AM Saturday that reads “Good morning Jim. I saw that you submitted a request for information last night. Do you have some time this coming week to hop on the phone and chat?”

2 (kinda human) — Send a text at 3:30AM Saturday that reads “Good evening Jim. Thanks for your request for information on our franchise. When is a good time for us to chat about becoming one of our owners.”

3 (not human at all) — Send a text at 3:30 AM Saturday that reads “You may be a night owl, but I’m not. I use an automated text program so we can chat even though I’m asleep. Can you please text me a few times this week for us to chat, and then I’ll text you back in the morning which ones work best. Thanks.”

As I sit here today, I truly do not know the correct way to answer this question. I’m also guessing that the answer is going to be different for every company and may differ by the various ways they generate leads.

What do you think? Should automated communication be more or less human?

The ability to answer these questions is one of the reasons we built FranFunnel. It’s time for your franchise’s communication plan to come into the 21st century.

Demo FranFunnel today.

This article was written by Eli Robinson, General Manager of FranFunnel.

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