Most companies are busy hiring data scientists, mining data for insights, and creating algorithms to optimize all sort of things.  However, companies also assume that customers are wary of algorithms, so they try to humanize them; e.g., consider how companies name their virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa.

Research has found that people do not dislike algorithms. People show “algorithm appreciation” and rely more on the same advice when they think it comes from an algorithm than from other people.

This is not to say that customers don’t sometimes appreciate a 'human touch', but it does suggest that it may not be necessary to invest in emphasizing the human element of a process driven by algorithms. When masking algorithms customers may feel deceived when learning an algorithm guided them, and not a human; think about how you feel when you get an automated phone call that sounds  'too' human.

Transparency may pay off.  Perhaps companies that present themselves as primarily driven by algorithms, like Netflix, have the right idea.


Inspired by: Harvard Business Review - Do People Trust Algorithms More Than Companies Realize? By Jennifer M. Logg, Julia A. Minson, and Don A. Moore