Not so long ago, the idea of an automated office seemed a far-flung, fanciful notion – more the stuff of science fiction than anything nearing reality. However, now, as we make our way through the third decade of the 21st century, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are making the concept of an autonomous workforce a real proposition for companies of all sizes.
Automation for the many, not the few
Technology has advanced so much in recent times that many of the office tasks which previously required human input are being handed over to machines. Indeed, without even realizing it, you will have likely already had interaction with automated systems to some degree. From automated emails thanking you for your recent e-commerce purchase to the increasingly-common autonomous chatbots featured on websites, machines are starting to have a transformative influence on the way we do business.
Aspects of work you can automate today
If you’ve yet to dip your toe into the wonderful world of automation, here are just a few ideas for ways you can start using machines to drive efficiency and reduce your running costs.
Immediate email replies: For many businesses their website’s ‘contact us’ page really means ‘contact me’ and often solo entrepreneurs often become quickly overwhelmed by email enquiries. Standard etiquette dictates clients should receive a reply to an email within 24 hours – much quicker if you can manage it – but doing so can be difficult if you don’t have the resources available. Setting up an email form on your site to capture the client’s name, email address and comments can allow you to send a personalized reply to your enquiries the minute they’re received and buy you valuable time to reply in full later. Email management software can even be configured to ping you timely reminders for enquiries you haven’t yet replied to properly.
HR and workers’ benefits: Along with your customers, your company’s staff is its greatest resource so looking after your employees’ happiness and satisfaction at work should be your top priority. To keep motivation levels high, consider installing automated Employee benefits solutions to allow staff to select and build their own bespoke benefits packages.
Think about incentivizing email newsletter sign-ups: A tried-and-tested way to increase lead generation is to offer free content to email newsletter subscribers – for example, a PDF of privileged tips and advice or perhaps a specialized video. However, replying to each new lead can eat up a huge amount of your time and is ultimately an ineffective use of resources. Instead, think about installing a newsletter sign-up form on your website which will automatically reply to subscribers with their content. You’ll build your email newsletter list while also cutting down on the time spent managing new subscribers.
Install Customer Relationship Management software: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an essential aspect of all successful businesses. The well-established Pareto Principle states that 80% of a company’s sales come from just 20% of its clients – so it’s essential you treat these valuable customers as quickly and effectively as possible.
CRM software can help you track a client’s sales journey from first contact to the all-important follow-up emails and phone calls.