Where is the line between automating for efficiency and automating to the point of inhuman business practice? A total lack of human to human communication ultimately leads to a lack of real empathy. Understanding is vital in business; we need to understand the goals that need to be met, the requirements for getting there and what we currently lack. None of this can be achieved fully by anything non-human. So therein lies the question, what should we automate and what still requires the human resource?
What should we automate?
There are some obvious components of business that can be (fairly) easily automated and that can only promise an increase in efficiency, no matter what sort of business you’re running. Below is a list of what we recommend automating as well as some examples of platforms you can utilise for the task:
Invoicing, to ensure revenue is always followed up.
- Xero Example: https://breadwinner.com/xero-salesforce/
- Quickbooks Example: https://breadwinner.com/quickbooks-online-salesforce/
Enquiry forms with auto responses allowing the customer to pick a preferred call back time or auto responses to start a trial of the application
- WordPress Example: Gravity Forms https://www.gravityforms.com/
- Shopify Example: Form Builder https://apps.shopify.com/powr-form-builder
- Salesforce Example: Web-To-Lead https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RwTQ_qAg6g&list=PL5p-_uw-skLGMmEiJPVq_gbytQwR9SBVr&index=2
- Salesforce Example 2: Pardot https://www.pardot.com/
Communication templates and/or loggings (email, sms etc.)
- Automate Pickup from Store using something like an Auto-Collection Add on
- Payments automated with payment plan providers like AfterPay
- WordPress/WooCommerce: Local Pickups https://woocommerce.com/products/local-pickup-plus/
- Shopify: Store Pick up https://apps.shopify.com/store-pickup-2
Processes within retail
- Sync your pos to your ecommerce store
- Automate shipping via DHL, FedEx, Star Track or Australia Post
- WordPress/WooCommerce: Delivery https://woocommerce.com/products/australia-post-shipping-method/
- Shopify: Delivery https://apps.shopify.com/australia-post-shipping-extension/reviews
Support – Allowing customers to communicate with your business using their preferred method (i.e. Facebook, SMS, Email and get auto responses or suggested solutions based on previous queries via an AI Bot)
- Salesforce Service Cloud: https://www.salesforce.com/au/products/service-cloud/overview/
Let’s talk facts; where automation is helpful and where automation can be hurtful.
Automation can be hurtful to your business if:
- You’ve over-automated your customer’s experience.
The degree of human interaction required definitely depends on how much of a commitment the purchase is. By rule of thumb, high commitment purchases require more human involvement. Keep this in mind when automating processes within your customer’s journey!
- Your staff aren’t across the automation systems you’re using. If so, they’re likely to cause friction rather than increase efficiency as desired.
Now, this isn’t exactly a con directly about automation, more so the adoption processes put in place to ensure it works with your business and your teams. However, it is one of the potential hiccups that can come with implementing streamlining platforms. Moral of the story, always make sure your teams are on board with what’s being implemented and have the appropriate training required.
Where automation can improve your business:
- Efficiency! When you automate the right way – train your teams and have a full understanding of the programs being implemented – automating processes will increase your overall efficiency as a business.
- Data organisation. Processes that are typically repetitive, tedious tasks to do manually can often be automated for an instant organisation of data flowing in and out of your business. This means less human error, less data duplicates and more easily accessible information.
- Increase your visibility. Having your automated processes organised in one CRM means the ability to be across everything happening in your business.
- Productivity increase! Automating tasks means giving your teams more time to do what matters, while also streamlining the customer’s experience, therefore increasing overall productivity.
- Seamless customer experience. Automating your customer experience (in a way that suits your particular business) means quicker response times for them and an overall easier and smoother experience with your business!
All in all, if you’re well versed on automation tools and strategies best suited to your business, it will undoubtedly increase your efficiency, visibility and productivity! If you aren’t confident in your understanding of automation platforms, best you seek out advice from those who are. Automation done the right way is the way forward for the world of business!