Has the temptation to template ever been greater? As the volume of conversations between organisations and stakeholders continues to rise, so does the urge to have “ready-to-go” responses. Our interactions with organisations are increasingly governed it seems by autoresponders that look to slow down or divert real contact.
Granted, there is too much traffic today for every query to be answered personally – but I can’t help feeling that an opportunity is being missed here; that the lack of personality in the interactions we do have has made them trite and meaningless. People feel fobbed off, even if that wasn’t the intention.
When was the last time you listened to the patter that precedes you waiting in a call centre queue? How closely did you read the last rejection letter you got from a publisher? What did the voice message say when you called after hours?
You don’t remember – because it doesn’t matter. You’ve heard it all before. And you’ll hear it all again … and again … and again.
Too often, organisations miss the opportunity to make a powerful and distinctive impression because they are so focused on the process of responding or complying that they forget to invest in the substance of that response. Answers become bland, legally-approved statements: and those statements mirror every other tried and true response from every other quarter. A wonderful opportunity to stand-out is lost.
By way of illustration – intended to highlight and not to offend – imagine a “standard” Human Resources response to those who were unsuccessful in the bid to secure what has surely been the most important leadership position on offer in the world this week:
15 March 2013
Dear Cardinal X
Re: Position VATC266
Thank you for your interest in applying for the role of Pope. We received a high number of applications for the position and the Committee was generally impressed with the quality of the candidates. Regretfully, as you will have seen from the white smoke, you were not successful on this occasion. Thank you so much for taking the time to come to Rome to take part in the election process. It was great to meet you.
Should the position become vacant again, we would welcome your application.
Please accept our blessings for your career development and professional success in the future.
Thank you once again for your interest in the Holy See.
Project Supervisor, Executive Management Selection Committee
Image of the Vatican by xiquinhosilva, sourced from Flickr