Nowadays, there’s a much bigger demand for businesses to complete intricate tasks. So, why not turn to automation for help? With the help of automation, you’ll work faster and reduce the number of mistakes. Clearly, this is a win-win for both your company as well as your customers!
Take the words of Ivan Levchenko, the CEO of iGMS cloud-based software for professional hosts. He explains that for example in the vacation rental industry: “Big vacation rental companies don’t even try to do business without automation. This makes sense when you consider that 20% of businesses fail in their first year which could’ve been prevented if they operated more efficiently. Therefore, automation is no longer just a nice-to-have feature.”
Luckily there are countless tools and software solutions available that virtually every industry can put to good use. With the incredible number of tools at your disposal, you’ll most likely agree that it can be hard to know where to start. So, to help you, here are five of the most important areas that can benefit from automation to boost productivity.
Businesses can use tools to communicate with colleagues promptly and easily and to establish a great connection with their customers. By automating some of your processes, you can free up some of your employees (and they’ll most likely welcome a break from reading customer complaints)! At the same time, it will help you to maintain the same level of support that your customers have grown used to and expect.
You can, for example, use:
- LiveChat to initiate a conversation via your business website.
- A social management system like HappyFox to filter a message’s content and forward the inquiry to the right department automatically.
- A chatbot for simple inquiries so that your employees can focus on more complex issues.
And, just because a customer has bought a product, doesn’t mean that all communication should come to an abrupt stop. To boost customer satisfaction further, it pays to keep the communication lines open after the purchase.
After all, isn’t it easier to address a problem if it has been identified sooner? A stitch in time saves nine, right?
So, it’s a good practice to send an automated email to every customer a couple of days after a transaction (the magic number is usually after three days).
In order to make better decisions for your business, you need to be able to access data. You can also use automation to create reports that use charts, graphs and other ways to visualize key data. One of the main benefits of analyzing data in this way is that it requires less time and effort as all the key info has already been consolidated.
You can introduce automation to:
- Create interactive reports and KPI dashboards accessible by each member of your organization (check out Sisense and Zoho Analytics).
- Build and share reports on the fly (check out Looker and Datapine).
- Create data storytelling instead of traditional reports that will definitely impress stakeholders.
By adding automation to your reporting process, you’ll also be able to get analytical data and deliver necessary updates to your customers whenever they need them. Certainly, this will keep your customers satisfied! Plus, it will free up more of your time that you can instead use to focus on more profit-generating activities.
Businesses can also automate key functions such as invoicing and payments. What’s more, automation can also improve your chances of identifying potential fraudulent activity. By flagging an incident at once, you’re able to act faster which could help you to prevent more damage.
Ultimately by automating these time-consuming (and often mundane) tasks, employees can shift more of their attention to the important job of growing the business. After all, if your business doesn’t grow, there won’t be any invoices to create in the first place! When this happens, how will you be able to pay your accounts?
As the recruitment process has many different tasks and typically involve a couple of stakeholders and partners, it also makes pretty good sense to go for automation. This way you can reduce some of the workload. Not only will it enable you to save time, but it can also help your business to engage potential new employees more efficiently right from the start. First impressions matter! So, this should be more than enough reason alone.
In a nutshell, here’s how you can use it for recruitment:
- Use it to create job postings from templates. This will help you to advertise the vacant position sooner.
- Then, when the applications start to roll in, the right software can automatically filter out the candidates who do not boast all the desired qualifications, skills and experience.
- You can even use software to place the shortlisted candidates into an available slot for an interview, create a contract for the successful applicant and rejection letters for the unlucky ones.
The objectives of marketing are still the same, though the tools to help you achieve these goals have changed. For example, social media is a great platform to use for marketing, but the major issue is that someone still needs to create the actual posts and share them on different platforms. This can be rather time-consuming!
That’s where automation can help the most. A social management system can, for instance, post to your accounts automatically and ensure that you are always hitting a regular cadence of posts without having to find time every day.
Have you ever struggled with communicating an important update regarding your product to your big client base? Implementing automation to your email marketing will give it a second wind. There are several other useful tools out there that help businesses to stay in touch with their customers, nurture leads and send key company updates on autopilot.
A Few Last Things to Ponder
Automation is more often than not a real cost-effective solution (and lifesaver) for any business. There’s no need for big investments and it can help you to make optimal use of your resources. At the end of the day, business owners shouldn’t be afraid to put new technologies to the test, especially for simpler tasks. It can either be used to supplement current systems or to create a brand new system.
Another great thing – automation tools make it possible for you to track the efficiency of your business activities. By getting such insights, you’ll clearly see which areas need more TLC.
That being said, the secret is to think long-term. Will your solution still be suitable a couple of years later? If the tool that you’ve identified will not be able to grow with your business and adjust to changes that might be made in the near future, it’s better to research other solutions instead.