— October 25, 2018
Many businesses struggle from a lack of time & resources to grow their business efficiently. In such a scenario, automating menial and repetitive tasks via software can go a long way toward saving time and improving overall productivity. Automation doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lavish amount of money on machines and robots. It merely means automating one or more work processes with the help of technology to reduce or completely eliminate human intervention. Smart work is crucial for any business and with automation, you and your employees can focus on more important tasks. Automating manual and boring tasks can help you focus on doing more of what you love.
Automating tasks looks different for every business. This post is targeted towards businesses owners who are looking to improve their customer experience and want to reduce the time spend on their administrative tasks. We explain how you can decide where you can automate your business and why you need to automate them. Successful automation can help you in focusing on teamwork and using your creativity in the right places. So, read ahead to find out why automation should be on the top of your to-do list this year.
Where do I need to automate my business?
Before you decide why and how you should automate, identify the key areas where you need to automate your business. Start by monitoring your work schedule for a week. List down the tasks that take up most of your time. Once you have this information, classify these tasks into the Eisenhower decision matrix. The decision matrix allows you to group your tasks into a 2×2 matrix of important vs non-important and urgent vs non-urgent tasks.
Next, find the tasks which are repetitive or less important but take a lot of time on your schedule. Then you can work on looking for tools that can help you in automating that task. For example, if you waste a lot of time scheduling meetings with your customers and exchanging back and forth emails with them, then you can probably automate the process with an online booking system. The system can take care of your availability and send reminders on your behalf. This will empower you to focus more on delivering content in an impactful manner and spend less time worrying about scheduling meetings.
Here are 5 reasons why you should automate your business
Improve the efficiency & speed of your business processes
All businesses are looking to improve the efficiency of their day to day business processes. If you really want to make efforts in becoming efficient, you want to make automation a part of your culture. With automated processes, you can reduce manual errors and inefficiency associated with human work. It’s all about reducing the unnecessary wastage of time in manual steps.
Automated systems are incredibly flexible which makes it easier to handle any type of change, especially the ones sent at short notice. For example, if you want to handle a payment refund for your customer. First, you need to find the customer’s information, then locate their payment details. From there, process the payment refund and notify them. This entire process could have been easily replaced by an integrated payment system which allows you to locate the customer data, and handle refunds by adding credits to their account and send them an automatic text notification.
With automation, your processes take much less time and the audit process becomes even simpler. Nowadays, most data is stored on the cloud and these systems are easily accessible to you across devices. This means you can easily add small automation to your processes and improve your efficiency without additional cost.
Improved customer experience
Customer satisfaction is the number one priority for all businesses. As customers become more tech-savvy and demanding, they expect quicker customer service and consistent experience. Your aim should be to automate your customer management system with the goal of providing better customer service.
Customers frequently contact you via multiple channels like email, phone support, after-sales service, etc. All the important information you have about the customer should be centrally stored and easily accessible to various departments of your company. Example of important information include any delivery instructions, any challenges faced in the past, upcoming appointments, etc. Although this sounds like easy information to track, many large companies fail to achieve this simple functionality successfully, hence leading to customer dissatisfaction. Irrespective of the channel the customer uses to connect with you, your teams must be able to handle their queries properly.
To eliminate any communication gap between teams, you can adopt a centralized online customer management system (CMS) where all your teams can access customer data and leave additional information for other teams if required. A simple customer relationship management system like Hubspot that stores customer data electronically and allows you to add comments and feedback can also work wonders for you. Adopt a system that is accessible across devices so it’s convenient for you and your staff members to find and access customer information anytime. This will not only empower your team but also create delightful customer experiences, and therefore, help you grow your business.
A recent study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive. No one wants to do mundane tasks, and anyone who has to complete repetitive tasks over and over again will end up getting bored and frustrated.
When people talk about “dehumanizing” they’re not just talking about the task itself but to the little thankless menial work that goes into that task. An automated system will never get bored, and will always deliver the same speed as it continues to do the task with the same efficiency without regard to how often the job needs to be done.
For example, the HR department handles the recruitment process for new employees for your company. When sending out interview requests to applicants, they need to copy the same email and personalize each one with the applicant’s name and their interview date. This task seems too manual and boring for a person to handle and can be easily automated. You can replace the whole process with an online appointment scheduling software like SuperSaaS. The HR staff member can then only share the schedule link with the applicants with free time slots and the applicants can book the time slot most convenient to them. In addition to that, the system can automatically take care of sending them personalized customized appointment reminders and notification on the company’s behalf. This will enable them to focus on finding the right employee for you and not get stuck in mundane tasks like writing repetitive emails and calling up each applicant to set up the interview schedule.
Selective automation of such small tasks can help free up time, help your employees focus on more important stuff and hence result in better productivity and happier employees.
Generate insights for your business
Insights into customer behavior is an important aspect of every business and integrating analytics as a part of your business strategy is one of the easiest ways to know more about your customers. Gaining insights into your consumer behavior will not only help you know what your customers like and dislike but also help you understand which campaigns yield the best results.
Nowadays, marketing is highly dependent on data analytics and help you make smarter decisions. Using these insights can help you identify how to evolve your strategy. The easiest way to start is to sign up for a free analytics account and add the google analytics tracking code to all your web channels. Once you have added the code snippet, you can simply automate the system to send you monthly reports with insights about your visitors.
In addition to analytics, there are a lot of other forms of software that will help you understand more about your customers and can help you improve customer interactions. For example, consider the software Live Chat which allows you to communicate with your website visitors and help you solve their queries. You can add small incremental automation to help you make better decisions and to deliver better customer experience
Eliminating possible business surprises
To grow your business, you want to eliminate all possible surprises and plan out your work accordingly. Even though it may seem impossible to eliminate business surprises, you can always work towards reducing uncertainties to a certain extent.
Many times uncertainties come to you in the form of last minute cancellations. This leads to empty unproductive gaps in your schedule which means a waste of your time and company’s resources. Cancellations are more than just minor inconvenience and annoyance, it results in lost revenues and change in your schedule ultimately leading to low productivity and increased expenses.
Remember the time when you were on the way to a client meeting and the client canceled? Were you frustrated? Did you feel it was a complete waste of your productive time? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, and you’re the type of person who has to attend meetings frequently, then you’re in dire need of automating your meeting creation process. You can reduce such productivity killers from your schedule by automating your personal schedule with your online calendar and setting a cancelation policy on your schedule. You can automatically get cancellation notifications if a client chooses to cancel and in case they cancel after the specified time. Receiving automated notifications and reminders can save you money and help you take measures in time to prevent bigger damage.
When looking for automation software always try to find software which can speak to your other software with native or 3rd party integration. This will reduce the work and improve the outcome. If you find that some of your automation tools don’t provide a lot of integrations then try using 3rd party software like Zapier or Integromat. They can help you by becoming the mediator between two software and allowing them to talk to each other without any human intervention.
Remember, when you start automating your business processes, start small and start with the easiest processes first where there is limited or no human value-add. Focus first on automating one business function. Find out how your employees respond to the automation and the challenges faced while automating. This will allow you to take up bigger projects easily.
Although it seems easy, many employees are reluctant to change their way of working to integrate automation in their daily life. Inculcating a culture which embraces automation and provides time to employees to adapt to the change can go a long way in improving the efficiency of your business automation.