Business automation used to be a tool that was accessible to Fortune 500 companies only. Creating automated workflows has been out of reach for most companies, because programmers that had knowledge of how to create them came at a steep cost. Giants rose and showed consumers that they’re always online, always available and always servicing them. Leveraging their wealth and the availability of resources they outclassed any competitor. These businesses figured out how to beat the scalability curve with the help of technology.
However, years passed, technology has become more accessible and automation became a resource anyone can tap into. Regardless of wealth, company size or connections, professionals and entrepreneurs now have a host of tools that can handle hours of work in seconds. All that is required is logical thinking, a bit of expertise and vision.
But what is an automation?
Repetitive tasks, data management, emailing, internal communication, lead processing; all these have become the work of automated workflows, which are quick, never make mistakes and never feel tired. These “bots” work 24/7, including weekends and holidays. Are they part of the robot revolution that is making basic jobs disappear? In a way, yes, but depending on the perspective you take, they’re also part of the movement that increases productivity and liberates professionals to take care of meaningful tasks, instead of paperwork.
This all sounds fancy and you may be imagining robots or AI computers managing data repositories and writing complex functions in advanced coding languages, but in reality it’s much simpler and much closer to the day to day activities many of us do. Here are a couple of classic examples of how we used automation to make the lives of our customers easier:
-Maybe the most common automation is linked to notifications. Whenever something happens, either due to an internal trigger (a task being marked as finished) or an external trigger (a customer sending a message) a notification email or message is automatically sent to a relevant or interested party.
-Another great automation is related to data management. For example if someone uses a form to contact your business, an automation can easily gather the information provided by the prospect, add it to your CRM and create a task for an agent to contact the prospect in a specific timeframe.
-Something maybe even closer to home is automated email marketing. There are hundreds of triggers that can set off a chain of automated emails to your contacts. Perhaps a purchase will set off an upsell email sequence or maybe something much simpler, such as the generation of a receipt.
-You’ve surely had a conversation with a chatbot recently. Those friendly robots on Facebook Messenger or on website chat widgets answer frequently asked questions instantly or direct users to the appropriate resources whenever they need assistance. Some of the more advanced bots can even perform simple tasks such as booking appointments or responding to simple queries based on the data stored in the business’ database. You might have even mistaken one of these bots for a human operator. High level bots can recognize keywords and sentence structures to be able to respond seamlessly.
The use cases for automations are endless. Most tasks can be partially or fully automated. Of course we’re not quite at the point where we can ask code scripts to think creatively or make decisions, but if we are available to provide the correct parameters, an automation will perform its duties without error.
Can anyone make and use automations?
As I’ve mentioned, the tech required to automate has become extremely accessible. Online platforms, CRM tools and plugins now allow us to bring automation into small businesses and even one man shows. Sure, you still need someone that knows how to handle these platforms, program the processes and refine the systems until they run flawlessly. Nevertheless, the benefits of such automated workflows will outweigh their minimal costs rapidly.
Think about your average workday and count the tasks that you can imagine being quickly wrapped up by an automation. I’m sure there are at least 3 or 5 on everyone’s schedule. Just by taking care of a couple of them you can probably free up an hour every day to take care of other, more impactful tasks. Think of what this could mean for your business and yourself as well.
Business automation is becoming an integral part of companies and consumers are starting to expect certain things. Keeping up with this technological advancement is not only recommended, I’d go as far as saying that it is a requirement in order to stay viable and scale your business in today’s market.
If you’re excited to get started in the world of automation, but are unsure of where to start you can always drop us a message. Let us know what your biggest business challenge is and we’ll get you started on making it disappear through automation.