Managing Your Business
10 Benefits of Process Automation for Your Small Business
Though automating your business may conjure up images of robots taking over, there’s a lot more to finding ways of running your company on autopilot. Business process automation uses technology to perform recurring and routine tasks, offering opportunities to save time, increase efficiency, and minimize costs.
Customer service is one area of a business that automation can significantly improve. Streamlining specific processes enables you to serve customers more readily and easily. That directly affects your revenue. Here are some other ways that automating can help your business:
- Generate more leads
- Gather data to improve future campaigns
- Accomplish repetitive, “no-brainer tasks” so you can focus on goals requiring higher-level thinking
- Lower costs
- Reduce delays across-the-board
- Minimize human error
- Increase marketing ROI
Convinced it’s time to automate? If so, here are some ways to consider streamlining with automatic processes.
1. Respond Quickly to Contact Requests
Promptly answering emails from current and potential customers is essential. A study by Lead Response Management found that waiting just 20 minutes to reply to a contact request substantially decreases your odds of obtaining a qualifying lead.
Software that enables you to respond to inquiries automatically ensures that you get back to potential clients immediately. A “contact us” form on your website that generates an automated reply assures the recipient that you’ll soon be getting in touch. The system then notifies you of the request, so you or your team can follow up promptly.
Automated technology greatly assists digital merchandising efforts by increasing efficiency and tending to customer service. One example of a handy tool is the chatbot. This automatic function makes your company available 24/7 to answer questions about products and services.
2. Follow-up On Networking Efforts
If you meet several contacts at a networking event, you’ll likely walk away with a stack of business cards. You have to follow up with these contacts before they forget who you are, but typing up a dozen or so emails is time-consuming.
Using automation technology to reach out to new contacts can make the process easier and more expedient. You can transfer contact information from business cards to a CRM (customer relationship management) tool. Use automation software to schedule an email about your company and services.
Cell phone apps also capture contact information from business cards, automatically initiating a follow-up email and updating your records.
3. Enhance Social Media Posting
Posting on social media is a necessary but time-consuming undertaking that you can easily automate. Many technologies enable automatic posting across platforms and distribute blog posts to social media feeds. The latter ensures you get the most out of your content creation efforts. These platforms will also help you enhance social media engagement.
4. Manage Your Sales Pipeline
You must be directly involved in certain aspects of your sales pipeline, such as formally closing a deal. However, there are many time-consuming steps along the way that you can automate. These include identifying a new lead and sending it to your sales rep for engagement.
When the salesperson determines the lead is qualified, more automation capabilities allow focusing on hot tips and continuing conversations with undecided potential customers. When you score a new client, a series of automated welcome emails is also helpful.
5. Coordinate Inventory Seamlessly
Ensuring that your products are always available when customers want them is easy with inventory management automation. Such systems coordinate the interfacing of your system with that of your suppliers. They can automatically order and replace inventory, fill backorders, and cancel orders without the possibility of human error.
6. Streamline Employee Onboarding
Hiring employees requires managing a complicated web of details and tasks, and it’s easy for some things to fall through the gaps. By automating, you ensure that the process runs efficiently and quickly so new employees can get to work. You can manage details through automation, including setting up training sessions, collecting required documents, and managing payroll setup.
7. Send Appointment Reminders
Forgotten appointments cost your company time and money — but so can taking the time to remind customers. Automation software enables you to use the client information in your system to send automated appointment reminders. To make the process run even more smoothly, do this in tandem with a scheduling tool that syncs with your calendar.
8. Check Client Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction surveys are a vital tool for customer acquisition and retention. Asking for user input helps you improve your services. An automated system can notify you of problems and complaints so you or your team can address them quickly. When clients contact you with praise, you can follow up on good news by thanking them and asking for testimonials, reviews, and referrals.
9. Receive Reports on Analytics and Metrics
You can set up programs to automatically send you reports on business metrics essential to your company’s operation. Many such reports integrate with project management platforms.
10. Eliminate Repetitive, Time-Consuming Tasks
Here’s where robots do come in, although generally in the form of software robotics. Your business can use such software to perform functions like photocopying, transferring files, and copying and pasting data. This category includes personal digital assistants, such as Alexa and Google Assistant, which can look up information for you.
Long-Term Automation Success
While you can automate many tasks, you’ll want to pinpoint a few that will benefit your business the most. Automation will help your company in the long run, but the setup can be time-consuming.
Also, consider that some business processes aren’t well-suited for automating. These include tasks that require a lot of human input and creative thinking, such as design, content creation, closing deals, and responding to comments on social media.
To learn more about what you can do to increase business efficiency, visit the Swyft Filings Learning Center. If you’re just starting and want guidance on forming a business entity, check out our easy online registration process for LLCs.