Automation is seen as generally positive in business – computers cost less than humans over time, they do not take sick days, and they work from a quantifiable perspective with no emotional content to get in the way of decision making. However, many experts are questioning the wisdom of over-automation. Using only automation techniques tends to remove personalization from business, a practice that may turn off more customers than automation gains for the business.
Here are some of the markers that you should take into account when you are looking to change your business through automation.
The dirty little secret of social media is this – your initial interactions should be automated. Schedule those general posts to draw in qualified prospects who are truly interested in the subject matter. From here, you can more effectively target high quality prospects with personalized messages.
Scheduling your blog posts on an automated timeline also gives your company ubiquity online – the illusion that you never sleep. Schedule relevant social media posts for holidays or sick days and save your real energy for those close interactions that close sales.
Your Email Junk
Your relationship with email may be shaving precious minutes – or hours – from your schedule even as you believe you are conducting productive activity. Is conducting a spring cleaning every day in your email box really productive? You may actually be able to drastically reduce your email time sink through a junk mail automation program. Staying away from non-urgent or completely irrelevant emails without having to delete each piece individually give you back hours to focus on relevant prospects and customer service issues. And don’t worry – today’s email automation programs are smart enough to ensure that your top customers do not get caught up in the automated spring cleaning. At the most, you will check your email once a day instead of many times.
Payroll is one of those business functions that actually should be automated as much as possible. There is absolutely no place for human emotion or data entry error in payroll, and any company that has inserted either into the process has lived to regret it.
There are many ways to put your payroll on autopilot. This should be done in a way that allows your employees to feel secure in their paychecks, increasing the time and the morale they have for customers.
Bringing money in is also a process that should be as unemotional as possible. A good system that runs automatically also serves as a buffer – your customer service reps can actually blame any unfavorable interactions on the system when some customers inevitably try to negotiate for more time or a payment reduction.
Credit card automation is also an excellent investment, as these systems are already plugged in to the major credit card company infrastructures. Your employees can let the payments run and focus their time on the personal interaction.
How much can you automate your business in 2017? Enough to give your company the leverage that it needs to personalize its operations even more. Keep the tips above in mind when you are looking to incorporate new technology into your process, and make sure that you are moving your company to a space of more interaction and engagement with customers, not less.