When it Comes to ‘Surprise and Delight’ Technology isn’t Always the Answer


Image by jjpacres via Flickr

Sometimes when it comes to surprise and delight, technology isn’t always the answer. I’ve spent the last 16 years in the digital realm building web sites and digital experiences. From time to time, I feel like I’ve hit technology overload. IPod, IPad, Droid, QR code…blah, blah, blah. Though we turn to technology for so many things, nothing can beat a human touch.

Case in point, I have a friend who sends hand written cards and photos. Whenever I receive a card, I am pleasantly surprised. It is always a happy experience. One day last week, I decided to pay the happy gesture forward. I knew that my sister was having a stressful week and decided to hand write a card and include some recent pictures of her kids and mine taken while we were on summer vacation. The whole experience was a bit foreign at first. I couldn’t remember the last time I wrote neatly in cursive.  By contrast, my entire day is typically spent at a keyboard staring at a monitor. Seeing my handwriting come to life was both familiar, yet unfamiliar at the same time.

Similar to my reaction when I received the cards from my friend, my sister was touched. Though her first reaction was along the lines of…Oh, my gosh, what is this? Is this an invitation to a party? We don’t have time in our week for another party.  Her train of thought switched to curiosity…there aren’t any birthdays or special events in the near future. I wonder what this is?

When my sister opened the card, she was overjoyed. The surprise and delight came from the unexpected pictures of our families together and the use of snail mail. As my sister loosely described, “you only get bills, junk mail, and unwanted stuff in the mail.” She never expected a for- n0-reason-at-all happy gesture.

So, perhaps technology isn’t always the answer. Surprise and delight can mean returning to old-fashioned ways of doing things! Come to think of it, I would love for a real person to answer the customer service number. And, wouldn’t it be great to have that real person physically located at the store, establishment, location where the customer service issue could actually be solved?

Ah, the good ol’ days!

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