With the rise of the internet and advances in transportation and communication, it is easier for businesses to operate globally. This means businesses have to compete with companies from all over the world. As a result, the modern business world has become very competitive. Unlike in the past, you cannot rely on traditional methods to handle tasks manually. This is no longer a practical approach, especially for small businesses with limited staff and time. That is where a robust automation strategy rolls into action.
Many small business owners believe that automation only works for large companies. However, this belief cannot get any further from reality. To change your perspective, we have compiled a list of benefits small businesses can yield by embracing automation:
Automation Strategy For Small Businesses: Benefit # 1
Small businesses operate with tight budgets. So they constantly look for ways to cut corners and try to save as much money as possible. Guess what? Automation can drastically cut costs for small businesses. Typically, insufficient information or visibility into team capacity and scheduling is a common cause of unnecessary overtime. Automation strategy allows managers to improve the efficiency of the scheduling process. That way, they can better recognize patterns and ensure more tasks are performed during regular business hours. This eliminates the need for overtime, saving you substantial money on labor costs in the long run.
Automation could also drastically reduce incidental costs. Take the example of a traditional billing system; it requires you to print physical invoices and mail them to customers. If you automate this procedure, you will not have to worry about expenses such as ink, paper, stamps, etc. Though they seem relatively small expenditures, they can pile up over time.
Automation Strategy For Small Businesses: Benefit # 2
Provides Robust Customer Service
Providing excellent customer service has never been more critical than today. Customers are more likely to return to a company that treats them well and resolves any issues they may have. When customers are satisfied, they also recommend a business to their friends and family, leading to more business and a positive reputation. A solid automation strategy can virtually take your customer service to the next level.
Automation uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to perform routine customer support tasks. It includes providing customer assistance, routing bug reports, or organizing support tickets. Automation also improves response times and reduces manual labor for customer service teams while maintaining the quality of service.
There are various types of customer service automation, such as contact forms, chatbots, and surveys. Recently, self-service portals and knowledge libraries have become increasingly popular. These allow users to access frequently asked questions (FAQs) to find relevant information without speaking with a customer service representative.
Customers often appreciate a personal touch, such as a salesperson remembering their name or a company sending them personalized recommendations or offers. In fact, one survey found that 33% of customers stopped doing business with a company because they felt they were not getting personalized service. If you are sending mass emails to your consumers, it is impossible to personalize each one of them manually. With an automation strategy, you can personalize every interaction with existing and potential clients. Be it sending a welcome email to a new subscriber or sharing the launch date for a new product with a particular demographic; you can customize your messages accordingly. Moreover, you can automate the scheduling as well.
Automation Strategy For Small Businesses: Benefit # 3
Eliminates Human Error
The cost of human errors in small businesses can be high and impact a company’s bottom line. For example, if an employee makes a mistake while assembling a product, it could result in disposing of the faulty product and starting over, which can be time-consuming and costly. Apart from financial losses and denting productivity, human errors also contribute to the bad reputation of a company.
The human error usually occurs when performing monotonous tasks, such as data collection and entry, due to factors such as fatigue or boredom. Businesses can address these issues by implementing an automation strategy for data collection and sorting. Automation tools are less prone to errors and can work continuously, freeing up human resources to apply the collected information in more productive ways. Automation systems can also be used to perform quality control checks. It ensures that products or services meet the necessary standards, reducing the risk of errors caused by human oversight.
Besides, the servers, workstations, and – most importantly – the apps in your network need the latest security patches and upgrades installed. By using an automation strategy, businesses can create a system to promptly verify and apply available updates, removing the need for manual maintenance by IT staff. It slashes human error in IT while streamlining the security update process.
Automation Strategy For Small Businesses: Benefit # 3
Compliance refers to the process of adhering to laws, regulations, and standards that apply to a business. Businesses have a legal obligation to comply with relevant laws and regulations. Non-compliance can lead to legal consequences, such as fines or penalties, which can be costly and dent a business’s reputation. Keeping up with the ever-evolving regulations imposed on businesses is getting increasingly difficult. When faced with tighter regulations, it was once thought that adding staff was the best course of action. Luckily, that is not the case anymore, thanks to automation.
According to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), if you are not actively using consumer data, you cannot retain it. This necessitates keeping records of each customer, their dealings with your organization, and the time their information was recorded. Automation enables you to remove customers’ contact details after a predetermined period. By doing so, you may avoid the time-consuming task of regularly reviewing customer data and staying on top of GDPR compliance.
Many businesses hire lawyers to help them deal with the legislation’s numerous complexities. Along with their hefty fees, attorneys come up with legal jargon, making it difficult to comprehend how legislation influences your operations. On the other hand, incorporating automation into your workflow means your compliance team can quickly and efficiently disseminate summaries of company-specific regulatory concerns. It will ensure that all relevant departments are always in the loop. Automating and centralizing these processes will provide you with complete oversight and ensure your compliance team has access to all the information they need.
What types of tasks can a small business automate?
Businesses can automate several day-to-day operations such as invoicing and billing, payroll processes, inventory management, etc.
How do businesses devise an automation strategy?
They start by evaluating business processes. After that, they research the different automation tools and technologies available and determine which will best meet their needs.
How can businesses ensure a smooth transition to automation?
The process involves communicating with employees, providing adequate training, monitoring, and adjusting.
Scaling a business is a tough nut to crack. But with an automation strategy in place, even a small company can grow sustainably. Given the benefits of automation covered in this article, you should get started right away, or else you may risk falling behind the competition.