In these rough times, most companies remain in a sort of limbo. They’re trying to figure out how to keep their business afloat. One solution that is working for many is “business automation”.
Now, if business automation isn’t a new term for you and you’ve automated most of your manual processes – you rock!
If you’re unfamiliar with business automation, no worries! In this blog post, we’ll explain how to eliminate the effects of a pandemic by implementing automation in your business. You’ll learn what tasks to automate first, what mistakes to avoid, and what tools to use to achieve great results.
Let’s get moving.
What Is Business Process Automation?
Business automation is the use of technology for automating repeatable and manual day-to-day tasks. It allows companies to carry out business processes without or with minimal human intervention.
To make it easier for you to understand, here’s a list of things you can automate:
You might be asking, “Why do I need to automate my business?” For answers, check out these examples of the automation boom in 5 industries during COVID-19.
As you can see, different industries use automation to respond to crises and improve their business performance. Do you still doubt the importance of automation? Then let’s look at some of the main benefits it can bring to your business.
Why You Need to Automate Business Processes
Most business owners are used to processes they use and treat innovation as a risk – until necessity comes along. The COVID-19 crisis, for example, is forcing businesses to review or completely refocus their strategies to survive. If you still doubt whether automating your business is worth it, here’s a list of the main business process automation benefits.
Enhance your online presence
COVID-19 has locked practically everyone on earth into their homes, so people are spending most of their time online.
This means that businesses have more chances to improve the online experiences of their customers by going digital and offering online products or services. The virus has also changed our buying preferences. For example, Americans have increased their spendings in such categories as online grocery, food delivery, meal kits, alcohol, and home improvement.
If your business serves these categories, it’s a great time to think about how you can go online. Remember, you need to be where your clients are. Do you see how relevant business automation is now?
Business process automation example:
The founders of Tito, a flexible platform for selling tickets online, have built a new live streaming platform (Vito) for facilitating online event experiences during COVID-19. Because the virus has had a drastic impact on the event industry, Tito had responded to it by allowing its customers to sell tickets to online events.
Improve customer service
Nobody likes slow, disrespectful customer service or long decision-making processes.
But hiring and maintaining a call center or customer service department is resource-intensive – and here’s when automation comes to help. The good news is that almost all manual document management and customer relationship processes can be automated.
Remember one thing: don’t make your customers wait! If you serve them quickly, they will reward you with loyalty.
Business process automation example:
Molo is a digital mortgage platform that allows customers to get instant mortgages online and provides automated advice on which products suit their needs best. Customers don’t have to deal with paperwork or wait in line – they can get a mortgage in no time, without leaving home.
Ensure Better Workflow and Employee Efficiency
Free your employees from tedious and time-consuming manual work, and turn their energy in the right direction. Did you know that 60% of occupations could save 30% of their time by automating such tasks as lead generation, document processing, and paperwork management? Automating your business allows you to make your employees more productive and responsible.
Business process automation example:
YourSales – sales consulting and outsourcing company uses Leadfeeder (online lead generation tool) to automatically identify leads who bounced from the lead form, send their information to the CRM, and follow them up. It saves time for lead generation managers and improves the sales process.
All in all, automation is about getting your business online. But before doing it – take your time and consider all the pros and cons of automating your business. Here are the main concerns business owners should take into account.
What To Consider Before Automating Your Business
Remember that business automation isn’t a piece of cake. Don’t treat it like a magic remedy that will work wonders at once. Here is what you should consider before:
- Evaluate your resources and needs
Stop for a moment and think of where you are now. Ask yourself: What are my business needs at this moment? Do I have enough resources to automate my business? There is no need to bring your business online at once. Start by enhancing your presence on social media and building relationships with your audience there. Think about the channels that require less effort first and only then move further.
- Create detailed goals for business automation. What do you want to achieve?
You won’t achieve success if you don’t know why you’ve started and what you want to get. Before investing your time into business automation, set specific targets that will help you to track your progress and optimize results. Ask yourself: What do I want to achieve by automating my business? It can be everything from increasing the productivity of your employees to improving customer loyalty. Define your main goal and make it specific and measurable.
- Decide what processes to automate first
Create a list of your business processes that are time-consuming, repetitive, and don’t require any human interaction. It may include importing spreadsheets, sending invoices, optimizing images, or publishing posts to social media regularly at the same time. Don’t automate complex tasks that require creativity and human input. Start small.
To begin with, you can digitize all the company documentation with the help of ABBY FineReader 12. You can also sign documents online with DocuSign / DocHub. Then, think about how you will maintain contact with all your customers, If you still don’t have a robust CRM system – it’s just the time to incorporate it.
- Do not depend on the automation too much
Try to keep the balance between automation and human touch. Automation should make the work easier for you, but not substitute the connection with customers and the public relations field. Think of your clients first and how automation can make their experience with you even better.
Emergency Step-by-Step Business Automation Checklist
When you’ve decided that automation is exactly what your business needs right now, it’s time to act. First and foremost, don’t rush to get your business “online”. In most cases, rushing results in low-quality products and websites.
The automation process is complex and somehow cumbersome. That’s why it’s important to prioritize. We understand that you’re pressed in time, and that’s why we have prepared a so-called emergency checklist that will help you automate your business.
Note: We recommend that you do 2 processes simultaneously: start growing your online presence while developing an automated solution for your business. That way, you won’t lose any time and will get better results.
Step 1. Enhance your online presence
If you still don’t have a website, don’t develop it in a hurry. Start your digital journey by growing your presence on social media. Fill your accounts with useful content and product reviews. If you don’t have social media accounts yet, it’s better to create both a company page and a personal account as well. We trust people more than brands, especially in such hard times.
Step 2. Build your PPC advertising campaign
A PPC campaign is all about hot requests and sending traffic to your website or landing page. Start gathering your keywords, analyzing demand, and planning your budget. Since your data and goals evaluation may take around a month, don’t postpone it to get results sooner
Step 3. Cooperate with opinion leaders and influencers in your domain
Most people’s online presence has increased significantly nowadays. People write blogs, stream live videos on Instagram, and grow their social presence in other ways. Don’t be a laggard! Create a list of influencers in your industry who can promote your product. Here’s how you can cooperate with them:
- Write guest posts
- Offer promotional posts
- Cross-promote your products or services
- Offer discounts for your product for their audience
- Write product reviews
When you’ve started to build your “online presence”, it’s time to think about business automation.
Step 4. Automate the easiest processes first
Your first job is to automate cumbersome and repetitive tasks that don’t require human interaction. As soon as you see confirmation that doing so improves your business performance, proceed to more complex automation. Automation requires time, and your employees need to get used to it. Automate one process at a time and track the impact of the changes on your business.
Step 5. Build a team of “automation experts”
Find 1 or 2 experts in your company who will be responsible for automation and educate other employees. This will help you be confident that everyone is on the same page.
Step 6. Document your process
Always document what you do. Document all your expenses, actions, and results. In the future, this will help you to see the picture “from above” and track the results of your efforts.
Step 7. Choose a technology vendor
When you see that business automation is giving you fruitful results, it may be time to choose a technology partner and develop a custom solution for your needs. During the current COVID-19 crisis, a lot of development companies have adjusted their prices to retain more customers (you can book a meeting with us here and learn more about how we’ve adapted our prices to our clients’ needs). Always think long-term when choosing a vendor. Make sure your vendor has the right expertise and technology to support you as your business grows.
How to Stay Tuned – 7 Business Automation Tools
As a bonus for you, we’ve listed 7 business automation solutions that will help you stay tuned, work remotely, and retain customers.
A powerful online video conferencing platform built for businesses of all sizes. It offers a variety of products for voice and unified communications, security and compliance, productivity and email, backup, and file sharing. Wherever you are, Intermedia Unite communication and collaboration products are always with you.
A cloud business communication platform for receiving calls, messages, videos, and meetings from anywhere. DialPad provides different features for call center productivity, calling and routing, messaging, and voice intelligence. And here’s some good news: During the COVID-19 crisis, DialPad is offering DialPad Talk Pro and UberConference Business for free to keep you connected while you work remotely.
A chatbot platform that helps Facebook page managers increase sales, qualify leads, and automate FAQs. By automating your Facebook messenger with Chatfuel, you get a chance to increase your open rate and CTR, automate your sales, and improve customer satisfaction. Chatfuel clients include famous companies such as Adidas, TechCrunch, LEGO, and T-Mobile, so don’t hesitate to give it a try.
A password management system that helps you save passwords and log in to your websites with a single click. You have to remember only 1 password; all other passwords are securely protected by the 1Password platform. During COVID-19, 1Password has removed its trial limits to help companies work from home securely.
A security policy company that ensures your business complies with security standards. Tufin offers products for security policy management, network security change automation, application connectivity management, and cloud security.
An IT resilience platform for data recovery, backup, and cloud mobility. It helps you reduce the cost and complexity of application migrations, protect your business from disruptions, and modernize it using the cloud. Moreover, Zerto is making their technology available for free for organizations impacted by COVID-19 to keep their systems protected from disruptions.
An all-in-one information security and vulnerability management platform. With Qualys, you can analyze threats in real-time, rapidly patch critical threats, and prioritize the riskiest vulnerabilities. Qualis also gives you a chance to test the security of your public web servers for free, so don’t miss this chance.
Business automation is one of the best ways to improve your customers’ experience, reduce costs, and boost your overall workflow. The key is to automate processes step-by-step and know your goals and expectations. But, first of all, you as a business owner must be prepared to change. Give business automation a try – and see what results it will bring.