Every time my wife Heejin and I are in El Paso, Texas we eat at a Korean restaurant.
And our most recent trip was no exception.
(OK – it might have been our only trip to El Paso, but don’t let that detract from this story 😊.)
In all seriousness, Heejin and I really do visit Korean restaurants whenever we are in obscure locations b/c it is fun to see that Korean restaurants tend to be very similar no matter where they are in the world, and it is fun for Heejin and I to meet other Koreans who have emigrated to those locations.
The best example of this was a place we visited in Madrid, Spain, as it was no different than restaurants we’ve visited in Oakland, Dallas, SoCal and even Seoul.
But, I digress.
I am writing about the El Paso Korean Restaurant (pictured below) b/c they tried to automate, and that is the subject of today’s blog.
Almost every time we visit a Korean restaurant, there is somebody there to greet us, usually with this: “annyeonghaseyo” – which basically means “hello,” as most people know.
But, the El Paso restaurant was not about to have anyone waste time uttering “hello” in Korean – so they automated it.
Every time, someone opened the door, there was a loud recording that said: “Hello, welcome to our restaurant.”
What made it particularly amusing was the fact that it played every time someone was coming or going, and it was uttered in a thick Asian accent to boot.
I was so amused that, when Heejin went to the restroom, I went in and out of the door multiple times just to make the recording repeat over and over in order to further amuse myself – until the Korean proprietor gave me “the look” which I knew, from being married to Heejin, meant “you better stop now…”
Anyway, the restaurant’s “automation” is a great example of automation that doesn’t work b/c 1) it was obviously a recording; 2) it fired at the wrong times (when people were leaving); and 3) it was not very sincere (but it was pretty funny).
PURPOSE OF THIS BLOG (THERE PROBABLY ISN’T ONE)
And this brings me to the purpose of this blog – to come up with an excuse to share a lighthearted story b/c most readers are checked out for the holidays.
I also want to remind everyone (including the JVM Team) to constantly look for ways to effectively automate everything possible – as it is necessary for survival.
Every basic task that repeats should be automated: (1) to eliminate work; (2) to cut costs; (3) to improve client experiences; and (4) to offer more value.
We’ve been on an automation kick for years now and the aggregate hours of work it now saves us is astronomical. This in turn allows us to offer lower rates and provide better service.
Our automation includes a variety of stock emails that fire automatically, our elaborate onboarding procedures, our recruiting efforts, much of our training, our FAQ responses, our follow up sequences, and much else.
We are very careful to only automate in areas where it improves customer service, and if anything comes across as the least bit insincere or too automated, we disengage it.
But, if we were not on this automation kick, we would not be able to provide the service levels and low rates we now offer, and worse, we would likely not be able to survive the pending industry-wide slowdown that will hit sooner or later.
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