It’s unclear why some people insist on saying that their actions are right when, according to social norms, they’re clearly wrong. This scenario has happened one too many times before and they’ll still be around in the future. For a business owner, this has “reputation destroyer” written all over it in big, bold font.

The debacle with Progressive Insurance is a good example. In 2012, comedian Matt Fisher filed with the insurance company to collect his sister Katie’s insurance. Katie was involved in a tragic accident two years ago in Baltimore. However, the company refused to give the $100,000 policy and instead waited for the verdict to come out…in favor of the one at fault in the accident.

Matt took to Tumblr to post the details, which quickly went viral and reached many news outlets. In what appeared to be adding insult to injury, Progressive responded on Twitter, expressing its sympathy for the tragedy. It would’ve worked, according to some marketing analysts, if it weren’t for the automated responses dishing out the same message.

Just like that, more than 2,000 clients have either dropped Progressive as their insurance policy or expressed their intent never to do business with the company. Although the company and the Fishers reached an agreement eventually, the damage had been done. Analysts say automated tools are helpful in building reputation, but the human factor is irreplaceable.

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