The core goals of automation are more or less the same for every business. There are a number of things automation is particularly good at: dealing with repetitive work, conducting calculations, and saving time. While the goals of automation tend to be similar across businesses, the ways in which you achieve those goals can be markedly different. This article won’t delve into specifics about which software or processes you should choose, instead, we’ll take a look at what kinds of things can be efficiently automated and offer tips on how those things can be automated.
Automate Your Communication
Communication thrives with a personal touch; it’s one of the things that humans tend to do a lot better than computers. While actually communicating with stakeholders is something that will most often be done by a person, communication can still be automated in a couple of ways: you can automate communication management and you can automate simple, repetitive communication.
Communication management is a rather broad category that includes the planning, dissemination, and monitoring of communication. Automation is of particular use for monitoring communications. You might, for example, have problems with staff not promptly responding to emails. Automation can help you manage this by automatically sending reminders to staff who haven’t responded to important emails within a set amount of time. You can also automate organizing your inbox by using keywords to automatically sort emails into different categories. You can also set up automatic notifications for when your company gets reviewed online or for when you’re mentioned in social media. Automation and monitoring go hand in hand.
Automating particular types of client or stakeholder communication can be incredibly useful, too. Create a list of frequently asked questions by clients and program a chatbot to automatically answer those questions. You’ll still want staff on hand to answer more complicated questions and concerns, but your hours of operation, the price of particular items, and other simple queries can be answered just as easily by a robot.
Automate Your Training
There’s a lot of training that can and should be done by people. New employee training should often be primarily handled by other seasoned employees who can answer questions and offer tips and tricks they’ve learned from years on the job, all with compassion and good humor. Automation is very helpful for certain types of training, however. Training for compliance is very often simple to automate: you present information and then a quiz, all digitally. You might also opt to automate training for some of your digital tools that have relatively simple learning curves.
Automate Repetitive Tasks
Here’s a lesson that factories have applied en masse since the Industrial Revolution: when you find yourself doing the same rote tasks day in and out, it’s time to automate. This might be sending reminders to clients, running end-of-day reports, turning electronics on and off, or any other number of things. Look at your processes and find what’s being done multiple times a week by people in the same way every time. These processes can often be handled by software.
The types of analytics your business will use will vary greatly depending on your industry, but almost any business can benefit from automating how they analyze data. Running a web-based marketing campaign? You can automate the way you collect data regarding who is clicking on what ads and how many of them are converting. Incorporating new business processes? You can automate how you record time-saving to see if the process is more efficient. Want to find out how profitable a new product or service is? You can automate how you crunch the numbers, from expenses to expected profits. Data collection and calculations are things that are very prone to human error but that computers do exceptionally well. Anytime you’re crunching numbers, ask yourself if a computer could do it better.
You can automate basically every part of the sales funnel in one way or another, from how you find leads to how you receive payment. You’ve probably seen this yourself - think about how sales on Amazon are automated or how an appointment booking app can automate payment and scheduling. When people buy things online, there’s rarely any human interaction at all - that’s because the whole process has been automated. You don’t need to automate your whole sales funnel at once (more on that later). Look for any piece that doesn’t need human interaction and see if you can make it automatic.
Much of the hiring process should not be automated; it’s important to get a feel for the person you’re hiring to know if they’d fit in with your corporate culture. That said, there are plenty of programs that can automate searching for and petitioning prospective hires - programs that look through resumes for keywords then send out a proposition. In a similar vein, these programs can look through resumes that have been sent to you and find the cream of the crop based on specific criteria you’ve chosen.
When you’re looking to automate processes, it can seem quite daunting - how do you automate the whole sales funnel or all of your analytics? The answer is to start slowly - automate one process and then automate processes that are linked to that process. When you take the slow, steady route, it can be easier for employees to adjust and it can cost you less money upfront.
Automate; Remember the Human
Automation is wonderful, but it can be a steep learning curve for your clients and employees. Having a grasp of what to know when automating client processes is key. While things like self check-outs can make your business much more efficient, automating away the personal touch can cause a lot of problems, especially in businesses trying to sell an experience. Your stakeholders are people, too, and introducing automation gradually in order to help them adapt is incredibly important.
Kiara is a natural organizer and she understands how important time and resource management are for small businesses. That's why she is the perfect Content Manager for BookedIN - because BookedIN software is the perfect way to organize your business life. Designed as a multi-platform scheduler, it allows your clients to book and pay for appointments with ease. Synchronized with your personal calendar, BookedIN maximizes your available time and increases your profits.