Automation has been around since the Industrial Revolution, but instead of being utilised for manufacturing and steam power, it’s now all about software processes and the Internet.
Business Process Automation and Robotics Process Automation are just two types of automation, with the common theme of these all being about using technology to make life easier for the business owners and their teams. It isn’t difficult to setup either – you can find affordable, off-the-shelf software that can provide as much or as little automation as you need.
Here are four ways that automation, in its many different forms, can help to deliver positive results across all areas of your business.
Amplify your customer service
Customers are the lifeblood of any business and whether it’s marketing, sales or simply customer service, automation can take your business to the next level.
• When a customer submits an enquiry to you, a ‘thank you’ page is nice, but why not go the extra mile to show them their query really matters to you? You can create an action that automatically sends them an email or SMS, thanking them for getting in touch.
• Since every sales lead is important, anything you can do to maximise engagement in your lead nurturing process should be explored. It’s easy to set up personalised messages that can be automatically sent to a prospect based on any number of triggers, be it opening an email, clicking through on a link or downloading a PDF from a landing page.
Simply Google ‘email marketing automation’ and you’ll find a range of tools from simple ones like Drip, fuller featured ones like ActiveCampaign through to advanced platforms like Hubspot.
Phone systems made easy
Your phone system can become more automated too - we offer our customers a wealth of features through our Virtual PBX phone system.
• Time of day routing lets you direct calls to another number or even play a certain voicemail depending on the time and day of the call.
• Sequential ringing can create a custom ringing pattern that can call a group of staff (the sales team, for example) one-by-one or all at the same time.
• An auto attendant can help to make calling easier for your customers, creating an interactive welcome menu that can greet callers and better direct them to the right department.
Increase productivity through automation
Allow yourself more time to focus on what really matters by letting automation take care of the repetitive and time-intensive jobs.
• Keen to have an active presence for your business on social media, but keep forgetting to post regularly? There are social media management platforms that can help you to pre-schedule a sequence of posts, and then track their performance and responses while still allowing you to jump in and post ‘in real time’ when needs be. Some examples include Hootsuite, Agora Pulse, Buffer and SocialPilot.
• Some types of businesses, like law firms and health providers, still rely on fax due to a combination of regulatory requirements and security concerns. Are you one of them? Fax can be essential, but it doesn’t have to be so manual anymore. Virtual fax adds automation to the process by sending and receiving fax files directly to your email, already in softcopy.
• Data validation is a critical but time-consuming part of any business that automation can help simplify. When migrating data from legacy systems, human error can lead to incomplete or missing data, poor data integrity or even loss of data. Numerous tools available online can migrate and scan the data, identify any errors and in some cases even correct them, while other platforms can validate and reconcile source and target data to ensure accuracy. All that’s required is to Google ‘data validation automation’ for a whole variety of options.
Innovation can be explored
With your time now freed up from manual tasks, creativity and innovation can flourish. You might decide to use this newfound freedom to explore some ideas that had been put on the backburner or perhaps the automation itself ends up sparking a form of innovation.
A lot of SMBs are surprised to realise just how much automating certain tasks allows them to then see new ways of doing business, create new products or pursue new markets.