Companies either big or small, need automated processes in today’s fast-paced dynamic world. It is necessary not only for speedy operations but also for time-saving. By automating processes within their company, they can save precious time and can focus more on other aspects of a business. The scope of automation is not just in a particular aspect of business, but you can automate many areas of your business. Given below are few ideas that small businesses can follow to automate their business operations.
Generating leads is just part of the sales process. But leads are the ones who turn into prospective customers. Automating leads can benefit small businesses in maximizing their time to focus on lead-generating processes that are crucial to the growth of their business.
Automatic responses to email requests
Automating responses to email requests from leads will not only save time but will also be crucial in retaining a customer. Automation software will simplify the process by pre-written templates that provide an immediate response to an email query. Set up a contact form, and feed your contacts with customer info.
Leave voicemail message
Business automation software can also set up voicemail so that no call is left unattended. Automate the process of voice calls so that when you cannot attend the call, the receiver receives an automated email about when you can contact them.
Set up an automatic datastore
Business cards can be fed automatically into the automation software with tags, and customize your email delivery at a certain time of the day. Provide free videos or pdfs to leads.
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Small businesses can work out the processes in their sales cycle and automate these processes. This helps the sales force and decision-makers in sales. By identifying your sales process, you are making it simple for the automation software to break it into steps.
The business automation software can identify a lead that needs more time by their engagement or responses. Sales representatives can push leads.
Automate lead scoring
Lead scoring by the automation software helps in identifying leads that are not ready to become potential clients. You can then turn to an email to be sent to them with info about your products and services.
Once the lead has shown interest and has purchased your product, send them an email about tips, how-to guides, videos. Customize the automation software to send those discounts on the next purchase, or give freebies.
Small businesses can automate and target their e-commerce department so that they can keep track of orders and retain customers.
Automate repeat orders
Small businesses need customers coming back to them for purchasing products they need often. That’s when they can automate their software to send them an email about a repeat order after a fixed period. After a sale is made, the software sends an email with a link to buy the product.
Automate for identifying empty shopping cart
Small businesses can set up their automation software to identify empty shopping carts or those that customers have visited but left empty, without adding products. It can then send a mail prompting customers with a reminder about visiting their shopping cart and make a purchase.
4. Customer service
Automation helps small businesses to be proactive with their customers and keep an active interest in them.
Automate for constant touch
Proactive customer service is what small businesses need to retain their customers. They can automate their business with software that sends reminders to the sales team to follow up with a client.
Small businesses can schedule their automation software to send emails to leads and clients about an appointment. Reminder emails can be sent once the appointment has been fixed. Automation tools are available which can keep track of the calendar and scheduling an appointment on a particular day.
Clean contacts of inactive users
Based on different engagement metrics, small businesses can clear their contact list of inactive customers. Still, try to convince them whether they want to keep on receiving promotional offers, email subscriptions and news about events, etc. Include a Yes or No button so that the customer can either continue with an email subscription or does not receive any emails in the future.
Small enterprises can automate their processes to include survey links so that they get an idea of what product or service needs improvement. They can send automated emails based on surveys. They can send surveys or web forms with multiple-choice questions. If the feedback is positive, then the automated software can send a complimentary email. If the feedback is negative the business can automate the process to contact the client via phone, email so that they try to figure out what the customer has in mind.
Automate email generation
Include a contact link in the email, so that when the receiver clicks it, the automation software tells a sales staff to follow up with that client. Fill employee contacts in your business software, so that you can assign tasks to specific team members.
Automate email for referral by client
Once a client has referred someone, small businesses can contact the person referred and send them an email to the client’s referral.
Automate customer engagement
Business software can identify low-engagement customers with click rates, orders. It can push a birthday greeting email on their birthdays.
Automate social media
Stay abreast of the latest trends on your social media handles. Small business can automate their social media to generate automated invitations to customers to go through their social media pages.
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5. Employee onboarding
Small businesses can save so much time when they automate their HR processes. Automated employee onboarding simplifies lengthy HR tasks and routines so that small businesses can concentrate on other critical business tasks.
The HR department in small businesses can depend on their software to provide employee onboarding process automation. Testing the skills and knowledge of the employee, tracking their progress and work performance are things that can be automated by small business enterprises.
Automate new employee data
Besides, the onboarding process can also be automated to maintaining data about experience, skills, proficiencies, education, certificates of new employees. Without much paperwork, the new employees can access files and documents necessary for their training or projects. Moreover, even before the new employees are to join the organization, HR can automate the onboarding process to send emails with passwords, important files, organization introduction, documents, and relevant info about the work profile of the employee. Automating the employee onboarding process can help reduce operational costs and eliminate errors.
Small enterprises aiming to scale up their businesses or achieving that elusive sales figure can automate their processes to include events and promotional activities.
Automate event registration
When an event is coming up, small businesses can automate the registration process. They can also set up an automation process to handle promotions. They can automate their tasks of registration by sending emails to customers and prompting them to buy tickets to the event. Emails can be scheduled automatically to be sent days before the event.
Automate FB posting
Create a Facebook page about the event and notify contacts with promotional offers, coupons that they can use to buy products at the event. Even after the event, the process can include feedback from visitors and their reviews about the product or services. This helps in ascertaining a small business what are the preferences of customers, what services do they like the most, what are improvements need to be made in the existing product line, etc.
7. Office management
Small business enterprises can automate repetitive tasks and paperwork so that they have enough time for concentrating on other crucial matters.
Automate routine tasks
Small business owners can set an automatic process to handle repetitive tasks. Things like looking up a client’s address or reminding about an email or a thank you note can be automated.
Automate document processes
Small business can automate their processes to track new clients and customers. An email can be sent to them requesting them to send documents or forms that are required on a routine basis.
Automate job application
By automating the job application process small businesses can review job applications at a point where it is most necessary. For example, they can automate their process in a way that when the job applicant completes filing their experience and skills the HR is prompted to review the applicant’s job application.
8. Social media
Small businesses can automate their social media to garner more followers on social media platforms. They can schedule a post to be sent at a particular time of the day. They can use marketing communication in their posts and track customers who have purchased a product. Also, they can use chatbots as a type of communication tool to help customers get in touch with them.
Small business can automate their financial processes like invoicing, receipts, bills. They can use the power of e-banking to automate time-consuming financial operations. They can identify customers whose loyalty points are about to expire, and cards that are soon to get expired. Small businesses can send an email to them informing them about this expiry, and also offer some promotional content or lucrative deals on new products and product launch news.
10. Data backup and login details
Small business can keep all their data on the cloud and make use of password managers to keep all their login details in one place. This way they can never lose data and have access to login to a server at hand anytime they want. Their social media accounts, web server addresses and logins, banking and e-commerce login details, shopping portal addresses are safe and secure.
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While the above is all about automating business processes, small businesses should not ignore the human side of business development. You cannot automate all and this applies to a business enterprise as well. While planning a development model, a business must segregate automated processes from human processes. Things, like creating content, maintaining a relationship with customers and organizations, keeping track of competitors and strengthening the bonds with consumers and tracking trends in behavior and tastes, is not an automated process. That said, a small business needs to strike a balance between automated and human processes, and make them work together at an optimum level.