Business process automation is the use of technology and tools to automate repetitive tasks to save both time and money. Thanks to the advent of some incredible software, companies are now able to automate both physical and cognitive processes on a daily basis.
Thankfully, automation isn’t just for big businesses. Small businesses and individuals can also take advantage of automation to optimise everyday workflows and avoid time-consuming, manual tasks. Let’s take a look at some of the best examples of business process automation, and how you can easily apply these to add more time back to your day!
In the age of automation, managing leads manually is both time-consuming and wildly unnecessary. Often, it’s not possible for a single person to evaluate and categorize leads in real time based on data, though it’s precisely the kind of task that machines love.
Tools like Zoho CRM can help you categorize and then automatically target specific types of customers based on their attributes and behaviours.
For instance, the software organizes customers according to their industry or origin (eg. organic search, social media, physical event) and then automatically qualifies leads based on your goals, giving each lead a statistically-determined score depending on the likelihood that they will buy. The tool also automatically scores interactions with leads, allowing you to quickly manage promising relationships.
Lead management was once a strenuous and manual process, but thanks to some amazing software developments in the past decade, the days of managing leads in spreadsheets and documents feel like a distant memory.
The lead capturing process is another that can easily be automated to save you time and provide your users with a better overall experience. This can be especially beneficial if you have a dedicated landing page for capturing leads.
Rather than collecting data from potential leads and then manually uploading this to a CRM tool, you can create a form for your landing page that can easily integrate your CRM tool to automatically handle the entire process for you. A tool like Paperform is ideal for this, as it integrates with 130+ CRM tools (including Zoho CRM), so all landing page form submissions are automatically uploaded as contacts and leads in the CRM tool of your choice.
If you run an online store, a large portion of your time could be spent managing repetitive processes like payment collection, tax and invoicing. With every online sale, there’s a legal need to ensure that monetary processes are handled accurately and that a receipt is provided to the customer. While doing this manually could easily eat up most of your week, automating your payment, tax and receipt generation process can help you avoid the headache altogether.
Using Paperform, you can create a powerful online store, order form or product landing page to accept payments through Stripe, Square, Braintree & PayPal in as little as 3 minutes. By setting a tax rate within your form, a standard tax will automatically be applied to every transaction. The best part, however, is the fact that every customer who completes a payment can automatically be sent a receipt for their purchase.
Internal and external auditing is also essential for ensuring that your company remain compliant, both with company policies and the law. But audits are complicated, labor-intensive processes that can drag on for months.
Tools like iAuditor, however, work to help companies cut down on audit costs while at the same time making the whole process more robust with the help of software. Audit automation software does things like boost efficiency, improves the accounts production process, ensures GDPR compliance, and keeps tax records streamlined and accurate.
The best automation hack? You can easily use the dynamic Paperform and iAuditor integration to have a complete invoicing and auditing machine working without any manual upkeep.
Finding talented employees is both expensive and time-consuming. The cost of searching for an individual to fill a high-skill role can sometimes exceed a year’s salary.
Here are some of the ways you can start automating the hiring process to expedite it:
Since we live in the height of instant gratification, it’s likely that your customers want to be able to speak to you directly - and fast. They want to feel like there is somebody else on the other end of the line who understands their problems and can solve them.
Hiring an AI-powered chatbot service is an affordable solution for this - just ask some of the biggest tech companies in the world. Rideshare app Lyft now allows customers to request a ride from their Facebook or Slack messenger account, or through Amazon Echo. Likewise, Amazon-owned Whole Foods now permits customers to ask it’s bot for recipe ideas or filter by special dietary requirements.
However, chatbots are not a complete solution for maintaining valuable relationships with your customers. While a chatbot can be useful for answering simpler queries and questions, a lot of customer interactions require more tailored responses that require a real human being to be on the other end of the keyboard.
The quickest way to manage human interactions with customers is by ensuring you have an easily-accessible Contact Us form on your site. While managing emails that come through a Contact Form can be time-consuming, an easy way to automate this is by creating a smart form that sends automated and customized responses based on a user’s form submissions.
For example, if your Contact Us form asks users to select what product or service their query is in relation to, your automated email can use their answer to send them tailored information and answers.
A Contact Us form can also fasten things up as having a customer provide the full details of their issue upfront can prevent them from having to communicate their response to multiple members of your team; instead, their form responses can be used to hand the issue directly to the right person in your company.
Social media is a great digital marketing tool for growth, but it takes a lot of labor to do well. Unsurprisingly, entrepreneurs are now looking for ways to help companies improve their social media experience by automating a range of tiresome and repetitive processes.
Take Mention, for instance. Mention is a social media add-on that notifies you whenever anybody on a particular platform discusses your company. Instead of trawling through message boards, the digital listening tool gives you the ability to gauge your current popularity and online presence automatically.
Tools like Buffer also allow you to schedule social media posts, run contests, organize quizzes, and perform analyses of the current state of their marketing efforts. Rather than having to sit there and click “post” at the opportune time, Buffer allows you to create blocks of content when it’s convenient, and then schedule them to post on social media on their own with no manual input involved.
A quick automation hack: Use your entire team to crowdsource ideas and content for social. A great way to allow all your team members to contribute to your social feed is by creating a form that allows them to upload photos and captions, that then automatically adds their submission as a scheduled post in Buffer. Here’s how.
Remember, your automated processes are only as powerful as the tools that you use. Choose wisely and make the most of this glorious technology!
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