Web Design Day

Empathy Cannot Be Automated

Jenn Downs, Web Design Day 2013 - Pittsburgh, PA

Empathy Cannot Be Automated

Working at MailChimp I've seen thousands of interactions between companies and their customers. I've seen the conflict between marketing and design when trying to automate the relationship between company and customer. Automation is a powerful tool that bosses are starting to demand we use, but used incorrectly automation can reduce empathy for the customer or email subscriber.

Using technology to manage relationships isn't a replacement for human to human contact. You still have to talk to people and you still have to treat them with respect and dignity. No person should be reduced to just a number, a twitter handle, a "targeted segment", or a blip on a chart.

Let's explore how to let the automation guide you, give you data, feed you information, but use it to be more relevant, more human and more empathetic.

Jenn Downs

Few people know MailChimp's users better than Jenn Downs, the company's first customer support specialist. A key player in creating the best email company ever, she has since helped create and shape the MailChimp Research Lab. Seeing and resolving user frustration first-hand fueled her passion for user experience and helped to hone her acclaimed “punk rock usability” style.

Outside of being a web nerd Jenn is a songwriter and loves Rock and Roll!