While there is an ongoing debate about the depth and range of BPA (business process automation), one thing is undisputable – process automation is on the rise. The biggest reason why many businesses choose to adopt automation is cost. You see, due to poor organization, an average worker in the United States loses up to 38 hours per year searching for misplaced items, according to the Brother International Corporation. What’s more, the situation is not any better across the pond – according to a study by the Mona School of Business, UK companies collectively lose more than 327 million GBP (around $434 million) yearly, simply through searching for lost files.
The global loss in productivity is truly astronomical. However, people are starting to take the concept of paperless offices very seriously, and the adaptation rate of the automated process is higher than ever. In addition to cost savings, automation has numerous other benefits, from reducing the workload to basically eliminating human error. Of course, not everything is perfect. In some situations, BPA can be a double-edged sword. For instance, some customers are pleasantly surprised by quick automated responses on social media, while others get a feeling that the organizations are simply not interested in dealing with them personally. Naturally, it is all about implementing the automation process the right way.
Email Marketing Automation
Email marketing is still one of the most effective forms of marketing. According to Entrepreneur, 73% of companies agree email marketing is a core part of their business efforts and 25% rate email as their top channel regarding return on investment. If you have budget constraints, though, don’t worry. There are many fully featured marketing platforms like Moosend on the market that provide you with everything from marketing automation to responsive email campaign editors and don’t require a ton of money.
Social Media Management
Social networks are driving customer decisions. In fact, as Forbes reports, nearly 75% of consumers say that social media directly influences their buying decisions. Moreover, social media provides a great channel for start-ups to find relevant audiences, reach out to potential buyers and subsequently build a larger network. However, managing Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and countless other social media accounts can be challenging, to say the least. Social marketing automation will not only help you save time by curating content, but it will also allow you to schedule posts in advance, share them automatically and even encourage your employees to participate on social media. Tools like DrumUp do not require much time and effort, so your workers are more likely to share your business information on social media.
Data is, and always will be one of the most important assets of your business possesses, but crashes happen all the time, and even you and your employees are bound to make a mistake from time to time. A recent DRPC report discovered that nearly 75% of companies lost critical files, mission-critical apps or more than one of their virtual machines due to poor data recovery process. The report also revealed that around 20% companies suffered somewhere between $50,000 and $5 million in downtime losses. Therefore, you should have a backup of all of your important files somewhere else other than on a business laptop. Manual data backups are easy to forget about, so it is better to set it and feel secure in the knowledge that all of your files are being backed up automatically every half-an-hour.
Content creation is perhaps the most widely-used marketing tactic in today’s market. However, despite that, according to research by LookBookHQ and Oracle Eloqua, almost 45% of marketers consider content production to be their biggest challenge. In most cases, your average marketer spends more time brainstorming and researching post topics than actually writing the post. This is the reason why you have popular apps like BuzzSumo that can give you insight into what types of content resonate with your target demographic. For instance, you might find out that your customers enjoy short form articles or even content that uses a certain headline style. This information will help you make better decisions and give you a clear direction for what types of content to produce going forward.
Complaint Follow Ups
Contacting your customers and following up on their complaints is something you cannot afford to forget to do. Because no matter how good your product or service is, you are bound to get at least a couple of complaints from time to time. Services like Moosend allow you to schedule automatic emails that will help you deal with any objections. Also, did you know for every consumer complaint, there are about 25 other unsatisfied consumers that choose to remain silent? Way back in 1999, research done by the US firm TARP discovered that for every 26 displeased consumers, only one will make an effort to make a formal complaint. So you should contact your consumers every month or so, and ask them if they have any criticisms.
Project Management and Scheduling Software
Over the past couple of years, the project management landscape has changed quite a bit, and with an emphasis on reporting and efficiency, being a project manager in 2016 is radically different than being one in 2006. Project management, it seems, is more important than ever – according to the PWC Global Project Management Report, an astounding 97% of businesses believe PM is critical to their overall performance and success. When your start-up starts to expand after a couple of months, you will definitely outgrow email, and in order to stay organized, you will need to enlist the help of project and employee management software as well. Solutions such as this allow you to work with your team efficiently, and deliver top notch results.
If you have put a lot of time, effort and money into your startup (and I am sure you have), it is more than understandable that you want to stay on top of the numbers that are vital to your success. Hopping from one platform to another, however, just takes up too much time and looking at different websites while trying to make sense of all the data can be rather confusing. If you want a 360 view of your analytics, a tool like Cyfe can be a life saver. This particular program features a special, all-in-one interface that lets the user see every important metric from a single dashboard. The tool is also highly customizable and lets you create widgets for every detail you need.
Processes You Shouldn’t Necessarily Automate
Obviously, it is vital that your organization keep up with technology if you want to stay competitive. Sure, automating certain portions of your business operation will boost productivity and increase ROI but there are some areas you should think twice about automating.
● Online Engagement
Social media might be well suited for automation, and as we mentioned before, scheduling tweets and posts can save you lots of time. On the other hand, if you automate too much of your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram activities, you risk losing the human connection that makes this medium actually social.
● Client Messages
Setting up Moosend to routinely send your customers’ messages about new products is one thing. But it is quite another to blast them all with “spammy” advertisements that have little to no relevance to them. Therefore, you should take the time to carefully create and send personal emails to targeted groups of customers.
● Your Finances
Again, lots of tools out there will make your financial management and bookkeeping easier, but there is always a downside. Many self-sustaining programs on the market will only oversee your accounts, pay and collect your bills for a certain period of time – and then leave them unmonitored for several months. One late payment is all it takes, and your system could collapse completely, so you should always keep a human eye on your finances.
Conclusion: Technology Creates More Jobs Than It Destroys
Technology is evolving in front of our eyes, and it is evolving at an exponentially fast pace. For that reason, many people do not feel kindly towards BPA. As soon as their company starts automating, many people start worrying about their jobs, but the funny thing is most of them have nothing to worry about. While it is true that automation can and in fact will remove some jobs, it will also create new ones. For example, according to a 2015 Deloitte study, since 1992 technology advancements have driven a 580% increase in educational support assistance, 183% increase in community workers and a 168% increase in care workers in the United Kingdom. Automation develops a high-efficiency culture and creates higher-paying jobs, so the fact is – BPA doesn’t only benefit the company, it also benefits the employees as well.