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Why do you have to complicate everything?

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“Wait – you want me to use the computer to do this rather than doing it by hand as I always have?  Why?”

“Writing down a message takes one minute.  Recording it in the computer takes a lot longer.  Why do you have to complicate everything?”


I have heard this said. There are small business staff who cannot grasp why anyone would want to automate daily manual tasks. It is not natural to them to use a computer screen instead of a message pad; to use a keyboard rather than a pen to record a message. 


“All I have to do is write down the message and put it in someone’s mailbox or on their desk.  It works great.  Don’t mess with it.”


I have heard it doesn’t work so great.  Sometimes people claim they are not getting important messages.  Or they can’t find the message and no one, including you, can remember what the message said.  Or they are not the person it should have gone to so it’s not their fault.

If the message had been recorded in automation software there would be a record of it, who was copied on it, when, and what it said.  Handy, and worth the time to record it.


“I don’t need to record phone calls I make in the computer because I keep track of this stuff myself.  I am very organized.  We all keep our own written records very well.  Don’t mess with it.”


This one is often true in that every single support staff member and every single sales staff member keep their own records, in their own way.  If they leave and leave the records behind them no one else can make sense of them.  Maybe they throw the records away when cleaning out their desks.

Writing out what are often elaborate notes (or heaven forbid a personal notation system) takes more time than typing them would. This objection is often about having never had a job where computers were central to work and used constantly.  Computers are more of an afterthought or only the accountants use them.


“I use the computer- I use Excel spreadsheets.”


The Excel spreadsheets always make me smile to myself.  Excel is a wonderful product but it is intended to work with numbers, not words.  Using it to keep text records is more difficult and time consuming than any automation software would be.  This objection to using computers and automation software dies a quick death as soon as they look at an automated contact record.  So much easier to work with and maintain.  So much less time-consuming. 


 “I use my cell phone for everything – my records are in there. That’s my computer.  That’s my automation.”


This does not work well for businesses.  They have no copies of the prospect and contact records in a cell phone.  They have no copies of text messages showing what was promised to a contact.  And when the cell phone moves on to another company with its owner, all those cell phone records go with them.  

The business can give sales staff a phone app that allows them to access the company automation software.  They can also use tablets or any other digital device that can operate the app.  If this still requires enforcement by management, the issue is really control of information.

In the end, not everybody thinks of using a computer first to do work. 

Not everybody has heard of a business keeping a digital history of prospect and client interactions.  It may sound a little “Big Brother.”

Not everybody can imagine what they would do everyday if computers helped them do manual tasks faster and better.

Not everybody with a computer on their desk types well on it, including those who type like maniacs with both hands on their cell phones. 

It can be startling to run into someone who considers work a manual thing and computers something separate.  They will need a little help transitioning to working in the automated system all staff members use.  It will also be necessary to enforce the requirement to use it. Understand where everyone is coming from but be firm.   It is in the business’s ongoing interest that all staff use the automated database that will grow the business.


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