By automating repetitive and mechanical tasks, you can improve efficiency, save time and offer your customers better service. Read on to learn how.
The science-fiction authors of the last century were fascinated by robots. They imagined that machines – usually human-like androids – would take over dangerous manual work and boring household tasks from humans, leaving us free to enjoy a life of pure leisure.
It didn’t quite work out that way. While machines have indeed taken on many demanding industrial processes, we’re still waiting for a robot that can do the washing up. And many of the most powerful automations in our lives don’t walk and talk – they live inside our computers instead.
What is business automation?
Business automation is about getting software tools to take on certain tasks that human workers are currently doing. They’re usually fairly repetitive and predictable, with little requirement for human insight or judgment. For example, automated tools can create simple replies to emails, keep track of hours worked, send scheduling reminders and so on. AI tools such as chatbots can answer simple queries submitted by customers, or route their enquiry to a human representative if it’s too complex for them to deal with. In many cases, automated tools can perform their allocated tasks without any human intervention at all.
As these examples show, the tasks involved aren’t necessarily highly technical or challenging. In fact, they may actually be fairly straightforward for humans to do. However, humans still get tired, forget things and make mistakes – and that could have serious consequences for the business. Even simple tasks can be vital.
On the other hand, machines run on electricity, remember everything and follow instructions to the letter. They are happy to work 24/7 if you want them to, and they can process information and respond to it almost instantly. As a result, they can help you achieve major efficiency gains and deliver better service – which translates into a superior experience for your customers.
Automation tools needn’t cost the earth. You can start simple, with a basic but vital process, and build upwards from that base. Your tools can be integrated with each other, and with your existing software too – for example, whatever platforms you currently use for CRM, email, messaging or internal collaboration.
Automation frees up your team from boring, mundane tasks to focus on other things that make better use of their talent. That will improve their morale, but it will also allow you to develop new products or services, target new clients or push forward with new projects or change programmes. While the automation takes care of business today, you can focus on the business of tomorrow.
When business processes evolve, your team members must learn new routines and ways of working. That takes time and effort, plus people don’t always embrace change. But automation tools can simply be reprogrammed, allowing you to adopt new processes overnight.
Obtaining progress updates from human team members can sometimes be a hassle. It might take a virtual meeting, a series of calls or a bunch of emails to get the information you need – which you then have to collate into a concise format so you can easily share it or calculate KPIs. But with automation tools, reporting itself can be automated, so all the data you need is right there at the click of a mouse – gathered from multiple locations, aggregated and constantly updated in real time.
Perhaps the strongest argument for automation is that if you don’t do it, your competitors will. While you’re still limping along with manual processes, they’ll be steaming ahead with a slicker, more streamlined operation. All else being equal, customers will choose the provider who is faster, more responsive and more accurate – and that demands automation.
What could we automate for you?
If you're intrigued by the possibilities of automation, get in touch. We’ll be happy to chat about your processes and the potential to automate them.
You can call us on 01603 431200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org