You Can’t Automate This | TravelResearchOnline


You Can’t Automate This


No app, widget, web site, software, hardware, lap top, desk top, upload, or download does justice to gratitude.

The computer doesn’t have innate gratitude. We tell it to express gratitude through automated emails and silly GIFs. These are one dimensional, heartless, unremarkable expressions that we glance at and delete in a flash.

There is no substitute for when the human being is feeling gracious, expresses thanks, and offers a return of kindness. These are multi-dimensional, heartfelt, significant expressions that we feel and retain forever.

I am entirely unimpressed when I receive bland, uninspired, monotonous emails (and robot calls) attempting to thank me for my business. To me, they are vague, void and vapid. To them, they are a quick, cheap ‘solution.’



Only to be followed by the vexing TELL US HOW WE DID survey. Ugh! Do you REALLY want to know, or are you merely attempting to shortcut a potentially low star social media extravaganza?

(On that note, I am convinced that companies are less interested in achieving higher customer satisfaction than avoiding low star ratings.)

Speaking of surveys, I overpay Terminix to do pest control. The technician showed up more than 2 hours late then skated through the inspection, skipping the exterior part altogether.

I got the obligatory thank you email along with the TELL US HOW WE DID survey. I left a negatively noteworthy response, hoping to get a speedy reply. Instead, I got an instant email of thanks (for completing the survey).

And, that was that. They could not have cared less. But, they checked the box. (Or did they? I plan to follow up till I am satisfied, which will cost them all the time they saved by automating customer service.)

Because we are obsessed with shortcut inventions, we desperately search for tools that require lower input to produce the output. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to be as obsessed with the quality.

I don’t blame the business. I blame the people in the business (specifically the person who tells the people what to do.) The business itself does not have innate gratitude. The people in the business do. Gratitude is a matter of how – and if – it is expressed.

When it’s a matter of getting the job done and checking the box, gratitude is dissolved and diminished.

A pressure cooker makes a meal in less time. I’ll grant you that some meals may be elevated by this technique while more are marginalized. Skipping ahead sometimes diminishes the quality. Bypassing the original recipe can result in sacrifice.

You can’t shortcut the recipe for feeling gracious, expressing thanks and offering a return of kindness.

And, what are we doing with all of the newfound time we have gained by automating gratitude? Desperately searching for the next best automation app, widget, web site, software, hardware, lap top, desk top, upload, and download.



Stuart Cohen, Chief Motivation Officer at

If you can think big, Stuart will help you do big! An accomplished 28-year travel industry executive turned serial solopreneur, Stuart is a creator of brands and an energizing motivational speaker. He motivates & maximizes personal performance in leadership, entrepreneurship, salesmanship & wellness.

  One thought on “You Can’t Automate This

  1. Very insightful article – enjoyed its lessons, Stuart.

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