Here’s a great illustration of the difference between human and technology failure. 

A friend sent me the following e-mail auto-reply text from a lawyer:

“Please note that due to the high volume of e-mails received, delays caused by internet service providers and other problems one encounters with e-mails, I may never see your e-mail and your e-mail may never come to my attention. Therefore, if your e-mail is important and you want to ensure that I know about it and that I read it, please send it to me by fax or by regular mail or call my office to inform me that you are sending an important e-mail. “

Were I this lawyer’s client, I would be stunned. Are clients that much less busy or overwhelmed than lawyers? Are they less subject to “delays.. and problems?” This message screams “I’m really busy and important and you’re not… therefore, please go through extra efforts to get in touch with me, even though you’re paying me a lot.”

Systems may fail at times, but when humans fail, the results can be truly spectacular!