Automated systems are popping up everywhere, from self-checkout stations at grocery stores to virtual greeters in airports. You've probably encountered automated systems as a customer when on the website of another business, but you might not have realized it was an automatic process. So what does automation look like for small businesses? Anytime you use an application or technology to deliver a service to your client automatically without your intervention, you are automating the process, saving you time and money.
With automated processes, you can simplify the workload for you and your team by:
starting conversations with your clients without being physically present,
automatically publishing social media content for a month at a time,
maintaining your customer relations management system (CRM),
and other repetitive, time-consuming tasks.
To ensure automations improve your systems rather than hinder them, you need to choose software, technology, and applications that work for your unique business needs.
Welcome New Clients Automatically
Imagine your potential client visiting your website, liking what you offer, and wanting to hire your services. They click on your contact page and find your phone number and email address. They decide to call you, but you're busy working with another client and miss the call. So rather than try to reach you by email, they press the back button on their mobile browser and call your competition.
Let's take another look at the above scenario and see how an automated process could help capture the potential client.
When your potential client visits your website, instead of finding a contact page with your phone number and email address, this time, they also find a convenient form to fill out. They can instantly tell you what services they are interested in, the general scope of the work needed, the timeline, and their budget. Once they complete the form and click the "submit" button, they receive an automatic message or email that thanks them for reaching out to you and tells them when you will respond. Immediately your potential client feels like they have made progress, their needs have been heard, and all you'll need to do is follow up and offer excellent service.
More Automations for the Client Process
In addition to making connections with new clients, there are other steps you can automate to help streamline the process both for you and your customers.
Project intake forms are just one example of the way forms can improve your client process. Automatically generated forms can be used to onboard new clients, capture leads on your website, general inquiries on your contact page, and gather high-quality testimonials.
Calendars and Meetings
Setting up an account with an automatic calendar schedule can help you manage your meeting times and help your clients book time with you. In most calendar apps, you can set up the days and times that you want to set aside for meetings. That way, your clients and collaborators can instantly see when you are available and reserve time for meeting with you without the hassle of back-and-forth emails.
Emails and Onboarding Process
Automating necessary email sequences can save you a lot of time and helps to ensure all your clients experience the same great service. These emails can be triggered at any point in the client process, such as:
Thank you messages
Onboarding process emails
Schedule and Automate Your Marketing
Another area of your business where you can set up automations is your marketing. Imagine creating social media content for Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest for a whole month, then scheduling the posts to publish at the desired day and time automatically. You'll no longer find yourself struggling to remember to post something in between meetings or at the perfect hour of the day. Most website blogs also have scheduling options so you can upload your headings, text, and images and let them publish themselves at the pre-selected time. With automation, marketing can become a lot less stressful and time-consuming.
Three Things to Consider When Using Automations
What Processes Should You Automate?
Before you can start planning how to create your automation, you first need to determine what tasks you'd like to automate. Since the goal of automation in business is to remove people from the equation of time-consuming and repetitive tasks, you can start by making a list of the main activities your team spends the most amount of time on but don't necessarily require a personal response. Once you know where you spend the most time, you can determine which automations will best serve your team.
Choosing the Right Automation Software and Applications
It's important to research and compare your options for automation tools to find the right solutions for your business. You'll want to find tools that can integrate with the existing systems you're already using or consider the benefits of switching to make your processes easier to manage. You'll also want to ensure your entire team can use the tools you select. Do your team members use Apple or PC? Do the tools you want to use work for both? The last thing you want is to purchase tools that your team cannot use collaboratively.
You might have your team working remotely or in a shared office space, but in both cases, you should consider the level of your network’s security. When you begin using new applications and software, your employees will require extra training and procedures to ensure everyone knows how to access and securely connect to the programs. A secure network and monitoring system will help protect your business from cyberthreats that target popular automation processes.
Your IT Experts in Edmonton Alberta
Managing cybersecurity and IT systems can be challenging, which is why at Alt-Tech Inc., we offer managed IT services to help you and your team with everything from system and infrastructure management to cloud services and virtualization and around-the-clock monitoring. We're your powerful IT experts in Edmonton and surrounding areas. Contact us today with your questions to get started!