The concept of business automation has never been trendier, but what does it really mean for you and your business? When we talk about ways to automate your business, what we are really talking about is how to use modern technology to boost your brand’s impact and free up your team’s time.
Automating certain elements of your business can help you reach a far bigger audience, bolster your profit margins, and even help you strike a better work-life balance. Sounds great, right? With that in mind, we have put together some of our favourite tips on how to automate your business for real efficiency rewards.
Read on to discover which ones might be the perfect fit for your business!
Automating your communication
Communicating with customers and answering inquiries can be quite the drain on human resources. Of course, certain elements of customer care are always going to require a human touch. But automating communication can actually allow us to build a stronger connection with our audiences – providing better customer care and a more comprehensive service to boot.
• Automated customer emails can be so much more than marketing! They can also thank buyers, welcome new subscribers, follow up on abandoned carts, and potentially even send out birthday voucher codes to make treasured customers feel seen.
• SMS messaging can allow your business to deliver updates to customers on the go. This can be a great resource for sharing timely issues such as when their order has been packed or if a direct debit fails.
• More often than not, customer queries have a simple solution. Using a bot to deliver 24-hour customer service on your website may well tip the scales in your favour whenever your team is off the clock. Also, if the bot can’t successfully answer the query, it could email a member of the team most suitable to answer, based on keywords in the question – for example, contacting to the finance team if the message includes reference to direct debits or billing.
Fulfilment and shipping
Anyone in the realm of eCommerce knows that sorting through orders and getting them shipped can be time consuming. Packaging, labelling, and preparing orders can also be an opportunity for human error – we’ve all been on the receiving end of a package that contained the wrong size, or even the wrong product all together! Happily, technology has our back with some nifty resources.
As a pre-emptive note: You might not have heard of a wondrous thing called an API, but this is the acronym for an “Application Programming Interface”. This sounds kinda techy, we know, but it basically means a tool that allows one system to talk to another – for example between your business and a carrier service.
• You can streamline your shipping support in an instant by regularly checking in with your carrier via API or visiting the webpage and updating order statuses based on their progress.
• Carriers like DPD allow businesses to upload order information automatically to their system via an API. You can also make the most of services like Royal Mails “Click ‘n’ Drop”, which allows delivery details to be uploaded.
• Many modern product packages are printed with QR codes. These funky patterned squares facilitate part of an area of technology known as “computer vision”. Many contemporary businesses use computer vision resources to do things like double check they are packing the right products, or even – in the case of some cutting-edge companies – inspect products for faults.
General business automation
For business owners who have a passion for providing top-notch service, wading through the nitty-gritty of admin, accounting, and ordering can feel like a diversion from the mission at hand! Here are some amazing business automation ideas that might help you give more of your focus to what you feel truly matters.
• Modern accounting software solutions can feed directly from your bank account, auto classifying payments, and generating your accounts so you don’t have to.
• If you order products from suppliers and are tired of checking stock levels, this one is for you! You may be able to automatically reorder via API if your product levels fall below a certain threshold, so your shelves never hit empty again.
• Did you know that your customers leave clues to how you can serve them better every time they interact with your brand? Using deep learning tools, a sentiment analysis can be performed to illuminate how your customers feel about you, and your competition.
• You can enlist the help of bots once again, asking them to check out your competitor’s websites regularly and let you know if anything changes. This is a great way to keep an eye on your rivals and make sure you don’t miss it if they perform a leap-frog manoeuvrer.
• Save money and improve security with workspace automation. Office spaces can be fitted with motion controlled lighting and time-based events, such as switching off computers or locking the office at a certain time of day if it has not been locked already. This should bring down the running costs of the business, reduce your carbon footprint, and give you peace of mind that nobody left the office unlocked overnight.
Which of these ways to automate your business do you find the most appealing, and do you think we missed anything? We always love hearing how the Teapot community are harnessing technology to get ahead!