Sign of the Times: Do You Need to Automate Your Business Processes?
Blog: Ontraport - Business Automation
However, simply because your business has an established way of doing certain things, doesn’t mean that it’s the most efficient way to get from Point A to Point B. If you’re finding yourself overrun with pressing manual tasks, delayed by ever-present bottlenecks, struggling with incompatible online tools, or operating without a dependable way to track the performance of your business, you would benefit from business process automation.
Business process automation (BPA) replaces high-cost, manual systems that are managed by employees with low-cost, high-volume systems managed by software. BPA uses software to relieve you of the repetitive, manual tasks that eat up your time and leave you with the most efficient way to accomplish your day-to-day business tasks.
If any of following six indicators strike a chord with the challenges you’re facing within your business, it’s a tell-tale sign that you’re ready to automate your business processes.
1. Your Team Is Constantly Making Manual Errors
When your employees execute repetitive tasks day in and day out — such as updating customer files, sending out follow-up emails, or managing spreadsheets — human error is inevitable and expected. But when you offload those mundane tasks by automating them, human error is virtually eliminated.
Daily, weekly or monthly tasks that are performed the same way each time can usually be automated, no matter how big or small. This might sound like you’re replacing your employees with automation robots, but that’s not the case. Instead, you’re leveraging your employees time to work on projects that cannot and should not be automated, such as creative tasks, in-person communication and decision making.
2. You Need More Time and Employees But Don’t Have the Resources
As if growing pains weren’t already enough of a strain on any business, being maxed-out in your day-to-day operations can completely stunt growth. The natural reaction is to hire more people to leverage your own time, but that’s not always possible. Onboarding and retaining new employees is extremely expensive, and most small businesses just don’t have those resources to spare when they’re in grow-mode.
The alternative is to automate the execution of your most time-consuming day-to-day operations, from sending emails to creating reports to updating client information and more. This also creates a culture of stability within your business so that crucial tasks are always executed properly and your clients always receive a consistent experience.
3. You Rely Too Heavily on One Employee
A rockstar employee who takes the burden off of your shoulders is every employer’s dream, but dependence on a single employee creates a slippery slope. Let’s say that your employee completely handles the booking of all your client appointments. What happens when that employee is out of office or even decides to leave your company? You could be left in a lurch if you don’t know how to perform this person’s job or don’t have the time to take it on.
BPA allows you to partially or fully automate the process of tasks like booking client appointments so that you can successfully delegate responsibilities rather than abducating them. This mitigates your business’s dependency on a single employee and sets you on the right path to scale.
4. You’re Still Using Paper Files, Messy Spreadsheets, and Disjointed Systems
Having your data spread out between different employees, spreadsheets and systems can be a nightmare when you’re on a call with a client, generating reports, or just trying to find a specific piece of information.
That’s precisely why automation software is so effective — all your business data is in one place. Your customer contact records are connected to your email marketing which is connected to your sales numbers so that there are never data gaps or missing customer information. This is especially a concern if you’re relying on separate, single-point solution tools to store your data. If just one of those tools breaks, it can result in clients receiving the wrong email messages, being charged for the wrong products, or losing valuable information. With a business process automation tool, it’s much easier to streamline your business and make the entire customer journey smooth and seamless.
5. You Want to Improve Customer Satisfaction
Without some degree of business process automation, it doesn’t matter how hard you try — you can’t guarantee an amazing customer experience every time. Imagine running a bakery without a system for baking cakes. Every day the cakes would come out a little different. Some days they’d be great, but sometimes they might come out subpar. Some customers would love your cake and come back only to discover that the next time the cake didn’t taste the same. That’s not a sustainable way to run a business.
The same is true in every area of your business. If you follow up with a new lead differently every time, then the experience you’re delivering is going to be hit and miss. Some clients may find you prompt and professional while others may feel you’re dropping the ball and can’t be trusted.
Automation allows you to offer consistency throughout every interaction a customer has with your brand.
6. You Need More Insight Into Your Business
When you implement business process automation software, you’re setting the foundation to gain invaluable insight into your business. As a feature set of an all-in-one automation platform, BPA allows you to measure and track every single touchpoint along the customer journey in one place, providing priceless data about your leads and customers. For example, you could find out how many customers who visit your landing page and call in to your sales team on the same day have purchased in the last year. With a separate system for tracking website visits, selling your products, and storing information about each sales call, you’d have to look in three different places to compile this information. Not to mention the fact that you’d have to process all that data by hand, or with some spreadsheet magic, to find the data you’re looking for.
Business process automation software gives you the capability to have an in-depth understanding of how your business is performing day to day and functions as a centralized hub for your business growth.
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