- Automation lets business owners accomplish repetitive tasks or gather large quantities of data.
- Advanced AI systems merge these benefits by gathering data and using it to improve and streamline workflow.
- 40% of large businesses automate at least one business process, while twenty-five percent of small business owners report using automation.
- Businesses that use automation can improve customer support, generate more leads, improve rapport with consumers and gather data for future campaigns.
Are you thinking about adding automation to your small business? If so, you're not alone. Automation has a variety of excellent uses that make it a top tier tool for marketers, CEOs and customer support. There's a reason that 40% of large businesses completely automate at least one of their business processes.
When we talk about automation, we are referring to a system that can perform repetitive tasks with little room for error. Generally, this system will either work off of manual programming, also known as "set it and forget it," or makes use of artificial intelligence and can grow and improve based on repetitive interactions.
Business owners use automation in both of these ways to generate more leads to their business, improve their customer support, gather analytics data, and much more. Here are five ways you can use automation for explosive business growth.
Streamline customer support
The growth of online sales prompted businesses to improve their customer support channels. If someone buys a product from your store, they expect to have the option to talk to a representative if they want to know about the status of their order. Additionally, customer service is an excellent way to generate new leads for your business. Imagine if someone landed on your website and had some questions, but didn't have the option to contact you. They would leave and never come back.
There's a misconception that automated chatbots replace human workers. The truth is, businesses need a live chat team to help with complex problems or issues that a robot can't solve. The good news is you can use chatbot technology to automate some of the common questions that consumers ask on your website.
For instance, if someone created an account for your website, but lost their password, you should program a chatbot that helps these consumers retrieve their login information. Tasks like these are considered repetitive and can benefit from the addition of automation. Your support team will have more time to spend with consumers that have complicated problems, which translates to improved customer satisfaction and retention.
Robotic order processing
One of the most significant issues new business owners face when their company starts to grow is order processing. It's nearly impossible for a handful of people to keep up with the orders of hundreds of customers every single day.
Luckily, robotic order processing is an option that will scale up with your business and help allocate tickets to the right department. For example, if you sell clothes on your website, the robotic order processing program can look at the products ordered and send a list of clothes for the order to the appropriate departments.
This technique will help you free up time and send packages out faster. Amazon's two-day shipping is forcing business owners to come close to that goal for a satisfactory experience. There are far too many consumers who would instead go to Amazon and buy a similar product if it means they get it three to four days sooner. Automated processing can help you improve your order speed and accuracy.
Target consumers using on-site behavior
Small and large business owners alike are using automation on their website to track consumer behavior for personalized offers. Netflix and Amazon are two big players that come to mind. Both of these organizations track the things their customers buy or watch to build custom lists of products or movie suggestions.
You can use this tactic with your business, even if you don’t have a SaaS business or massive e-commerce storefront. Business owners with just a couple of products use automation to track the way consumers interact with content and better understand what pages they browse. The artificial intelligence system computes this data and makes split-second decisions about offers for the consumer.
Let's say you have an online pet store. Not only can you use automation to market cat products to consumers that viewed products in that category, but you can target those same consumers based on the content they are viewing on your site. For example, you can program your AI to show a link to your puppy-pampering giveaway if someone browses one of your articles about dogs. This system is a blend of artificial intelligence and manually programmed automation.
Auto-reply and personalize email marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective tools you have as a marketer. Traditionally, the ROI for email marketing is a staggering 3,800%. In other words, you could see a $38 return for every $1 spent.
Automation can help you make the most of your email marketing campaign by auto replying to consumers when they message you via your contact form. Consumers expect a response almost instantly, even if it's not a direct answer to their question. In fact, contacting someone within one hour of them emailing your business makes it seven times more likely that you can convert that person into a lead.
Email marketing is centered around personalization, which requires you to gather information about your prospects before and after they sign up for your mailing list. You can ask your new subscribers to highlight the topics they would like to see more information about in the future, or use an AI that classifies consumers based on how and when they use your site.
The added benefit of automation is that you'll have the option to send out personalized emails even as your business grows. Email marketers tend to have the same problem as the order department once their company gains traction. Automation can take some of the pressure off of your marketing staff, which frees up time for them to make stellar content.
Gather data for future campaigns
Finally, you can use automation to gather data for your future products, marketing campaigns and development cycles. There's a wealth of information available from users on social media, polls and surveys, and customer feedback forms. All of this data can be hard to handle and track if you're trying to tally every response manually.
Automation allows business owners to gather this information in real-time, which helps them make smart decisions without busting out the calculator. Google Analytics and email marketing software use automation to track data. The repetitive task in this example is counting. The systems you'll use will depend on your personal preferences, type of business and long-term goals.
There are countless ways you can use automation to grow your small business. As you start to scale up, you'll find more ways to merge automation and AI on your website and throughout your various social channels.
We expect to see more people use automation to grow their business, generate additional leads, and track consumer behavior on-site. Business owners are excited at the prospect of making their business easier to navigate, personalized and backed up by a well-rounded customer support team. You can expect to see automation as a central pillar in improving UX and personalization for years to come.