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Supermarket owner Glenn Miller is feeling a bit foolish at the moment. His Pak ‘N Save supermarket in Hamilton, NZ, unlocked itself at 8am on Good Friday with not a staff member in sight!

I found this news report to be a fascinating case study in human nature. But whilst chuckling from a safe distance about such a whacky scenario (after all, it wasn’t MY stock at risk!) I couldn’t help but wonder how anybody originally designed the security of a supermarket to unlock itself without any confirmation of staff being present. Clearly an adequate risk assessment was not conducted.

Technology presents wonderful opportunities for us, and (usually) makes life so much easier. But sometimes we forget our own value in the equation.

Unlocking a building is one example. Another is in our interactions with customers. And a chef would no doubt tell you that the personal TLC that goes into cooking could never be entirely replaced by a machine. In business, as in personal life, it’s important to balance the benefits of technological innovation, with the emotional benefits, relational opportunities, and practicalities of maintaining a human touch.

This is never more true than in marketing, where we seem to think that the internet, email, web sites, and technology can progressively eliminate the need for us to personally interact with our target audience. If we’re really going to address our customers wants and needs, we need to leverage our technical tools to maximum effect, but keep it in check with a healthy dose of human interaction.