10 Ways to Automate Your Business
All enterprises want to add efficiency to their organizations so they optimize time usage across all revenue and non-revenue tasks. On the external and internal fronts, this greater efficiency provides time for more important things like building customer relationships, expanding the business, and enhancing the bottom line.
Automation technology provides the solution, but you’ll need to understand the inner workings of your company to determine the best places to invest and implement this technology. Here are 10 areas where automation can change the business, customer, and employee experiences.
1. Scheduling Management
Trying to stay on top of the week with all the events, meetings, and appointments can become a job in itself. Many executives and team members now use digital calendars to access and update from various devices, which has saved some time but hasn’t addressed the problematic system for scheduling.
Instead, automating your schedule by using AI-enabled scheduling apps provide a way to skip the email chain to see who can meet when. The user benefits from a virtual assistant that adds meetings and events to the schedule that can be shared across the team.
Automation can handle the entire financial process — bill pay, expense management, spreadsheet generation, collections, tax and tax statement management, and financial reporting.
By automating these financial processes and integrating these automated financial tools, a company can better assess what jobs and projects cost for better planning and decision-making as well as improve their cash flow. Those working in the financial department of a company also have more time to study the data and provide insights to the executive team that inform the overall strategy.
3. Invoicing and Payments
Invoicing and payments are time-consuming processes that benefit from a wider range of automation solutions now available for all types of businesses. On the invoicing side, companies can leverage recurring and automated invoicing that delivers a digital request for payment.
Options can also include a way for automating the payment process should the customer prefer this time-saving task on their end. This means greater cash flow and less time spent on pursuing revenue and payments.
4. Customer Service
Companies can enhance this aspect of the business by using a chatbot with artificial intelligence. The chatbot can automatically handle simple questions or direct a customer to a specific area of the website, enabling a business to find a customer service solution to the problem of not providing around-the-clock live support.
5. Technical Support
Adding a help desk is one way to automate some of the tech support tasks that a business may need to offer. An AI-enabled help desk can take customer questions and leverage available technical content to provide a solution. Like customer service, this provides a way for a company to offer always-available assistance, thereby improving the customer experience.
Marketing automation offers measurable benefits. This includes things like opt-in forms that give website visitors a valuable download or access to critical information.
Other marketing automation tools focus on social media channels, uploading original and repurposed content, tracking responses through reputation management, and analyzing the data to deliver insights. Rather than having to be there for every marketing task, the team can be working on other aspects of marketing that benefit from the human touch.
7. Sales and Lead Generation
Automation assists with the leads process through sales software that leverages data to personalize sales calls and meetings, automation can be a game-changer for the sales process.
8. Industry-Specific Needs
Other automation opportunities may be industry-specific and help address certain business problems. For example, automating manufacturing, logistics, or quality control processes can help industrial businesses. Internet of Things (IoT) devices with sensors can automatically collect data and make decisions that can help those responsible for these tasks.
Or, if a company is an eCommerce or retail business, there are automation solutions that address inventory, delivery, on-demand orders, and customer interaction.
9. Project Management/Collaboration
Projects and team interaction have become more complex with remote team members, various locations, and diverse projects. Many existing project management and collaboration platforms like Slack have added machine learning to automatically handle various tasks. This includes file management, scheduling, and even certain responses and comments.
10. Company-wide Repetitive Tasks
Some processes in your company won’t live in one department or function. Instead, these tasks exist throughout the company, such as supplies management, internal communications about company activities, or emails.
List repetitive activities and track how much time you spend on them to determine which ones are using the most time across the company. From there, you can identify automation tools like email autoresponders or automated supply reordering that everyone can enjoy.
Deciding to Automate
Making the decision about what to invest to leverage this automation involves thought and analysis. Do a review of the costs and time spent on each aspect of your business to first identify those areas where you can start realizing immediate benefits from automation. Don’t automate everything at once because this transformation takes time. Each step in the automation process can reveal more efficiencies, so wait and see how each change delivers improvements before automating more.
Look for an automation partner that can help shape your transformation and provide a roadmap for this transformative change. These partners can provide long-term guidance to leverage greater gains from business automation.