Automation Helps Small Businesses Save Money, Boost Sales
Small businesses can increase their market share and bottom line through automation. That automation doesn't have to be expensive, just strategic.
Automation isn't just for large corporations nor is it just about robots. Automation is the use of any type of software to create repeatable instructions or processes so that they can be done electronically with less human intervention. Automation can apply to a variety of tasks: business and accounting processes, marketing and e-commerce, or inventory management. Small businesses that are strategic and smart in adopting automation can reap big benefits.
Automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks allows businesses to hire fewer employees. It also allows businesses to use employees more effectively by assigning them to tasks that truly require creativity and human thought, such as strategy and new product development. Automation also can help streamline onboarding, which means employees will be productive faster. Robots and automated IT processes also save money because they don't call in sick and need no vacation time. Money can also be saved because robots or computers make fewer mistakes than humans.
A computer can accomplish many repetitive tasks faster than a human being can. Repetitive tasks can include booking appointments, sending scheduled emails or filling out forms. In some industries, such as consumer lending, the ability to complete forms and aggregate information has enabled faster processing of loans and, as a consequence, higher profits.
Automation can facilitate internal processes and allow for employees to work remotely. This increases the pool of potential employees from which a small business can recruit, which can result in better-qualified employees. Employees working remotely also means that the business will need less office space, which can save money. Because automation can track processes, monitor team member responsibilities, and keep all members up to date, it also increases opportunities for collaboration among employees, regardless of geography. Automation also makes possible hiring of project-specific contractors.
Better Customer Experience
Many customer service processes, such as ordering, shipping, and after-sale followup, can be automated. This provides a more consistent customer experience. Automation also can collect data and fine-tune processes to improve the experience. Customer service technologies, such as help desks and chatbox, can ensure customers receive answers to their questions, often without the need for human interaction. This can increase the speed with which orders can be placed, making the customer happy and improving sales.
Improved Marketing ROI
Many tools are available to help fine-tune marketing and sales. Customer relationship management software (CRM) can track interactions and analyze data about the client's history with the company. This helps improve customer relationships and, ultimately, sales. Other programs help with email marketing, ad-buying, and audience targeting. E-commerce software can make appropriate buying suggestions to the customer, which also improves customer satisfaction and your company's sales.
Most small businesses already have implemented some form of automation, such as an email marketing program. The key to implementing automation effectively across the organization is to plan strategically and integrate programs. Take a look at your processes and activities to determine which would benefit most from automation and begin there. Then find the right tools for each process, with an eye toward how to integrate them with each other. Automation doesn't necessarily need to be expensive; often simple tools can do the job. A managed service provider can help develop a plan, find the right tools and ensure they integrate smoothly. Two River Technology Group, a managed service provider in New Jersey, can help find the right solutions for any small business.