Automation has impacted every area of business these days. Every year new automation solutions continue to revolutionize small and large businesses alike. In addition, the current mass migration to remote work brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased this dependency on computerization.
Nevertheless, it still takes deliberate planning to properly implement automation. In other words, just because you want to take advantage of the computerized revolution doesn’t mean you should sign up for software and download apps without a second thought. Here are several of the best areas where you can use automation to effectively improve your organization.
Join a GPO
When automation is brought up, it typically invokes images of IT departments and analytics dashboards. However, one of the simplest ways to effectively automate your business activities is by joining a group purchasing organization like Una.
GPOs are an excellent way to save both time and money. As a member of a GPO you can purchase your office supplies in smaller quantities at discount prices. As far as automation is concerned, by participating in a GPO you are no longer required to interview vendors, which is the most strenuous and time-consuming part of the process.
Automate Your Website’s Accessibility
Online accessibility is an oft-overlooked factor of website design — so much so that 98% of web pages have accessibility concerns of one kind or another. It’s important to create a website that is easily accessible for anyone who may want to use it. This can generate greater sales and doubles as a corporate social responsibility initiative with the potential to boost your brand’s reputation.
Get Hands-Off with Your Accounting
Accounting is a department ripe for automation. Numbers, calculations, and formulas can all be computerized. Invoicing, payments, and banking activity can and should be streamlined. Simply put, there are few areas of business where automation makes more sense than in your accounting department.
If you haven’t implemented automated software into your accounting activities yet, now is the time to do so. Intuit QuickBooks remains the market leader and offers both desktop and online iterations of its accounting software. It’s also easily scalable to any company size. However, if you don’t like Intuit’s platform, there are countless alternatives that can easily simplify your accounting activity.
Mechanize Your Marketing
Marketing is certainly a creative field. Artistic ads, creative copy, and subtle strategies abound. Nevertheless, there are numerous areas of marketing that can be automated — especially online. With so many marketing dollars shifting into the online marketplace, it’s wise to streamline your marketing wherever possible in the name of efficiency and effectiveness. A few suggestions for ways to do so include using:
- A tool like Moosend to segment and personalize your email marketing.
- An application like MailChimp to create abandoned cart autoresponders.
- A tool like Hootsuite to unify and automate your social media marketing.
Automating mundane aspects of your marketing frees you up to focus on unique content creation and overall strategy.
Unify Your Customer Service
Customer service is a traditionally personal field of business. Nevertheless, automation has become increasingly useful in multiple customer service channels. For instance, you can use an app like ManyChat to bolster your e-commerce efforts via chatbots. This can provide a front line of consistent, 24/7 customer service communication for your organization.
Another option is to use a call center as a service (CCaaS). This is a software that organizes and systematizes your customer service channels. It automatically helps consumers find the customer service rep that they need. By utilizing a cloud-based CCaaS platform like Five9, you can unify and streamline your customer-facing communication. This provides consistency and ease while still maintaining a human connection at the other end of the line.
Track Your Data
Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data are all common business activities two decades into the 21st century. While helpful, analyzing data, in particular, can be an exhausting task.
Implementing an automated data analytics tool can help you organize and understand your data better. Some of these, such as Google Analytics, are free and can provide meaningful insights even for the smallest businesses. Others, like Pardot, can take automating your analytics to impressively detailed levels. These platforms can cost thousands of dollars per month, but they add incredible value to the larger companies that can afford them.
There are many specific and actionable ways that you can automate your business activities today. However, if you want your automation to remain effective over time, it’s also essential that you adopt an attitude of continual learning. Always look for opportunities to educate you and your team regarding business automation. If you can do that, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the tools that are available — both now and in the future.