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Digital overload proves 'less is more'

10th January 2023

It is sometimes important to understand that ‘space’ or ‘air’ between the customer and the retailer or business is important. Having been bombarded with requests for market research on how satisfied or dissatisfied I am you are left realising that the machine (AI, Algorithms) require data.

That data in a blunt way throws up the response.

‘How you were not happy…tell us why?’

Some of the data asked for might not be a measure of creativity or quality or customer satisfaction. I guess ‘rating’ a service like does give you a test of something qualitative being converted into a statistical measure which can be quantified. So a rating of 10 is excellent and so on. This form of survey is giving you a measure of customer satisfaction which is important.

Back in the year dot, it was enough to have a personal relationship with the human who rendered the personal service. This then evolved into a relationship with brands. You might expect a brand to have more ratings of 10 than a business which offers a no-frills product, or that was the theory.

The discount airlines have made a good business in offering basic services which you can customise. In many ways, their awareness of customer ‘needs’ has overcome the big brand international airlines.

So when do the digital requests for information for data tip over into spam which is negative? When does the lack of space and the tidal wave of e-mails finally start to damage the brand reputation and turn you away?

Recently I had emails from the Hilton Hotel Group. They asked me if I was enjoying my Hilton experience when I had checked out some 2 hours previous because I had to feed the cats… The email was simply out of date as the machine I had checked out with obviously wasn’t linked to the marketing emails machine!

Hilton then reassured me that they looked after any information I gave them. It never occurred to me that Hilton wouldn’t have the best firewalls. It did get me thinking in a way about Hilton’s digital security.

I had recently picked up some verbiage about self-driving cars. It appeared somebody was saying that humans will always need to be involved in some way in the driving process. This went directly against my perception that machines might better control the swarm of automated electrical cars on roads.

Maybe it is the subtlety in human perception of ‘what is too much’ in terms of contacting customers that is still essential. Also that touch in the headlines regarding the over-selling of services. Machines are logical. Humans often ‘enjoy’ something even if it isn’t perfect. They will give a restaurant a good rating because of some exceptional service rendered. The primary food may not be brilliant but all in all, it offers a good offering. Fast Food is a classic case in point.


That for me is the logical conclusion to be drawn from the welter of data required/demanded from digital systems.

I recently got an e-mail from Evri:

‘We are going to deliver your parcel.’
‘We have delivered your parcel.’
‘How did we do delivering your parcel?’

The parcel was cancelled because you didn’t deliver the parcel….it was not needed because you had not delivered it on time. Still, the machine cranked out the inevitable positive outcome. But it just reminded me the brand had chosen the wrong courier service.


Ross Jackson