Robots are no longer just coming to a movie theater near you; they are taking jobs from anyone and everyone who is average in the service sector. Before you think this an exaggeration, consider what happened to the bank teller that was replaced by the ATM. How about Zillow and Trulia disrupting the realtor’s coveted MLS and what that will do to the real estate agent? And how about True Car becoming the trusted place for car buyers to know what a fair price is. Robots replacing people has been talked about since textile artisans protested mechanizing the labor force in the 19th century. Up to this point each development created new industries and new jobs. Henry Ford disrupted the horse industry and the automotive industry was born. When America developed from farms to industry and manufacturing, there were massive shifts creating historical technological and economic developments. Those same industries today are seeking haven overseas leaving the USA a service industry. So what happens when our last real industry, service, is replaced by technology? You think a robot can’t replace service? Well, they can certainly replace slow and annoying service. This is not a threat, it is happening right now. Automation answers telephones, makes bank transactions, balances account ledgers, sells you movie tickets, and photographs you running a red light. Drones are replacing US postal workers and the travel agent is virtually non-existent. What do all these have in common? Average or below average service, humans with bad attitudes, who are apathetic and lack product knowledge get replaced. People expect personality from humans and very little from a computer. Consider the following facts:
- Computer speeds now double every year making technology faster.
- There are more mobile devices on planet earth than people.
- What used to cost hundreds of millions of dollars now costs two hundred.
- What used to occupy buildings now fits in the palm of your hand.
- Embrace Change – Everyday remind your organization that change must be embraced not feared.
- Don’t React. Create! – We just finished beta testing a product for auto dealers that delivers a decision-making function from the salesperson’s or customer’s mobile device reducing time and increasing dealership profits.
- Master Value Add – List the things you provide that no robot, app or device can possibly deliver. Go ask your people what it is right now. If they can’t answer immediately, they don’t have one.
- Lead or Bleed. Robots can do a lot of things but they can’t lead. Every great business, idea or organization requires leadership.