Humans are Still Faster

By Susan Stone, Sysco
2015-2016 SAPinsight Leader Board Member:  

Siri:  Has technology become faster at answering questions than asking the person next to you?

MobilePhoneHave you ever tried to ask Siri a question? If you’re like me, the responses you received were not ideal or precise enough to answer the question. Heck, if you have a voice like mine, half the time she can’t understand what I’m saying and we go through many apologies before she finally gets me… “I’m sorry, did you say, fiddle sticks?”

This is why, when I’m really stuck on a problem, I still ask the most helpful super human I know first, before I spend too much valuable time researching or heaven forbid log a ticket. Why, in this day and age, would I continue to seek out ‘super humans’ to answer my sticky questions instead of using the wonderful tech based tools I have at my fingertips? Because, I’m only human and always seek the path of least resistance… evolution has ‘wired’ me to do this in order to survive. Which means tapping a super co-worker on the shoulder, and asking them my question is therefore my innate ‘go-to’ course of action (Ping them in IM or yell over the wall, which ever you prefer). I do this because I naturally know my super co-worker is still faster at comprehending, analyzing, answering, and offering a solution to my question, especially ‘super humans’ or what I like to call “super users”.

I hear you, why don’t I look it up for myself? To that, I say, yes, self-support has its place. I’m not saying the super human’s brain is faster than technology. I will say Super Users are still available to you even when technology goes down. Regardless, personally, I wouldn’t reach out if I hadn’t first tried to help myself. After all, like you, I am a ‘can do’ kind of person and love trying to find the answers to my own problems, i.e., “Googling it”. I love technology and I am a firm believer in the first rule of thumb of all techies… “Google is your friend.” So, yes, self-service has its place, and let’s face it…  its limits… mainly me.

Therefore, when the limitation is between the chair and the keyboard, again… me, and I have a critical business activity at stake such as getting a big sale on the books by the end of the day, or supporting a high profile customer on the phone, speed and accuracy are critical. This means to get the right answer fast I am going to a Super User, because I have learned from past experience – I can trust a Super User… but who are my Super Users?

If your company, like mine, has gone from having Super Users by default to having Super Users by design, then you know where to go. Having Super Users formalized into an official Super User program provides you with a ready-made community of super human experts who are available… NOW! Personally, my favorite method of reaching out to my Super Users is to go to all 600 at 1 time. How do I super reach out to all 600 of my favorite Super Users at 1 time? By posting my question to my trusted social media site, (this site ONLY contains the Super Users chosen to be super by the leadership of my company). For example, Jane used Salesforce Chatter to ask all of her Reporting Super Users this question, “Regarding the new version of EDW, is there any documentation on the changes that exist compared to the old version?” Super Joe responded within 5 minutes and now the answer is available for everyone to see. Why is it valuable that everyone can see Super Joe’s answer? Because I guarantee, if Jane had that question, so did numerous other people. (The art of using social media to support business is a topic for another blog.)  You see, it’s really about having the right balance of people and tools with accurate and available data, information, and intelligence. In this post by Rachel English, she gives scenario examples to show the balance between service and self-service.

So, let’s leverage our default ‘go-to’ people, and with design ensure our most valuable, reliable, and fastest tool – our Super Users/super humans continue to be the most super ‘Go-To’ tech around. Let’s be strategic! To borrow from the wise and the great, “And so, my fellow [human]: ask not what your [Super User] can do for you – ask what you can do for your [Super Users].”

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.
– John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

You can help your Super Users support you, by ensuring your company has an official and formalized Super User program in place to support your Super Users. Those super humans, who help us each and every day, are still faster and more accurate at understanding, analyzing, and solving business problems and questions than current technology.

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