Why Robots Won’t Be Taking Over the World

Today’s marketplace is constantly evolving. Each day there is a new technology or a new piece of software that promises to deliver more traffic, higher sales, and easier customer interaction. Many dealers think that they need the next bright idea, the next shiny tool, the next technical innovation to attract the public’s attention. We call this Shiny Object Syndrome. And it can be dangerous!

It’s not that we’re against embracing what’s new or integrating new technology. In fact, we acknowledge and appreciate the necessity of these things in successful businesses. As Ed Catmull, President of Pixar Animation, observes in his book Creativity, Inc., new is valuable and important. But new can also be dangerous, because sometimes people think that in order to change or improve something the best option is the next shiny widget. The key to success is in how you integrate the new.

Take, for example, what happened to us the other night. We met a client at a newly-opened, upscale casual dining restaurant down the road. This restaurant promised an innovative dining experience, offering the luxury of a gourmet restaurant with a new twist, so we were excited to test it out. You see, this restaurant uses digital tablets placed at each table to manage customer needs.

So within minutes of being seated, a waiter comes to our table, introduces himself, and introduces us to our tablet. With a few taps of his fingers, he shows us how to select any item on the menu and “Send” our order to the kitchen. It all seems very straightforward, and the menu is striking with hi-res pictures of each dish along with tantalizing descriptions. Wow! This place has hit a home run, right? WRONG!

Next thing we know, garcon has walked away, our tablet sitting on the table’s edge. What follows can only be described as inconvenient and inefficient, as we three hungry men attempt to huddle around a single tablet to place our orders. Finally, we push our orders through to the kitchen. It makes it to the table fast, but out of order—entrées before appetizers. The food is good, but not great. But the worst part is there is no sign of our waiter…until it’s time to deliver the check that is, which comes before our guest’s dessert. At this point, the waiter we haven’t seen since ordering brings us our bill. And expects to be tipped!

This is a perfect example of how adding a new technology resulted in little to no added value for the customer. In fact, we had to work harder for our dinner—typing in our own food and drink orders. We couldn’t help but wonder, “What happened to service?” In switching to a new, high-tech method for managing customer needs, they removed one of the most important aspects of dining—the outstanding experience that comes from receiving exceptional service.



The bottom line is that adding a new technology alone will not attract the attention and opportunity you are looking for. If you eliminate the service and experience when you implement that new technology, like this restaurant did, you eliminate the consumer’s reason for choosing you. Never stop exploring the new and trying new things in your business and life, but make sure that you don’t rely on something to transform your business merely because it is new.

At the end of the day, going all in on “new” could mean going backwards if you don’t properly implement the new technology. You must slowly integrate your new technologies and processes, troubleshoot to perfection, and never lose the human element. There will be mistakes, but if you have a plan and if you preserve your focus on service, you can overcome these setbacks and the “new” can mean a giant step forward instead of two steps back.

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are the founders of Rich Dealers®, the nation’s leading experts on attracting customers, and the authors of Gravitational Marketing. Visit www.TrafficSale.com to request a complimentary Traffic Scale Report, which compares the quality of your traffic to other dealerships in your area and helps determine whether or not there’s potential business you’re missing out on. Use coupon code DMM1410.

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller

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