A Quick Guide to Business Process Automation
There’s a lot of talk about business process automation on the internet these days. That’s a good thing, especially for solopreneurs. Some may say that automating your business is the final step in creating a successful business. Once you’ve created a company that can run efficiently without you, then you know you’ve created a truly freedom-based business.
What is Business Process Automation?
Business process automation (BPA) is a series of automated steps that will optimize everyday processes and take your business to the next performance level, without hiring extra staff. If implemented correctly, it reduces manual tasks in operations. These include forwarding and transferring data, sending notifications, and extracting information from databases.
A system can be operated by either a human being or a machine or a piece of software. For example, if part of your system involves sending out thank you emails to customers, that’s something that can be automated with software.
In this post, I’ll offer my tips on how to automate a few of the most critical areas of your business. Let’s get started.
Marketing & Traffic Generation
Software and apps can now do the heavy lifting for many valuable marketing functions. If you spend a little time setting up a system, it will continue to work for you while you’re taking care of business elsewhere.
To generate traffic, you need to develop a high-value giveaway to build your email list. The easiest way to automate this process is to integrate an email autoresponder that would handle distributing the lead magnet from your website when someone subscribes. Make sure the lead magnet is visible all over your site, and on all of your social media profiles. Set it up once, and you’re done! When you send out emails to your list, you can share information about your new incentive and give them more info via a link to your website.
As the primary source of content for your website, there are a couple of different ways to handle content creation.
First, you can hire writers to create content for you. If other people in your industry can credibly talk about your subject, this is a fantastic way to go about it.
In my opinion, content curation is easier than content creation. It’s a time-saving tactic that allows you to leverage quality content from other sources while sustaining your audience’s attention. Automated tools can be beneficial here. Sites like Scoop.it and Pocket can help you discover new content and even schedule posts.
Another alternative to hiring writers is to start accepting guest posts. Instead of having to do all of the writing yourself, have your content written by guest bloggers instead. You could set up an automated system to accept submissions from your website by creating a form that is always available.
The only problem with going this route may be having to filter out the low-quality posts and only posting high-quality materials. However, this task could easily be outsourced.
Customer support is another vital area of your business that can be automated.
Customers contact businesses to ask questions. It’s quite likely that this is the majority of the customer service issues you handle on a regular basis. If you look over the questions people have asked in the past weeks, you may see some patterns arise. You might notice that many customers ask the same questions.
Being readily available and providing prompt answers to these questions is a great way to provide excellent customer service. But anticipating these questions and providing answers before they’re even asked saves both you and your customers even more time.
That is the reason companies create FAQs. An FAQ, or “frequently asked question,” is a section on your website that lists common questions and their answers. With an FAQ knowledge base, your customer can search first to see if their question has already been asked. If so, they can get their answer without having to contact you at all. Fleeq is just one of many tools you could use to create a knowledge base for your customers/clients.
Another popular tool you’ve probably encountered on other websites is a chatbot. You arrive at a website, and within a few seconds, a little box pops up in the corner of your screen asking if you need any assistance. A chatbot is a website feature that is used to give the customer/client the virtual experience of being greeted by a customer service representative.
Many chatbots are designed to resemble a live chat. A chat box appears, and the customer is invited to ask a question. The responses, which have been programmed by you in advance, are natural and conversational in tone. It imitates the experience of someone talking to a real customer support representative. Of course, the customer/client knows they’re talking to a bot.
Help desk software is an automated platform you can use to receive and respond to escalated queries and support requests. The help desk can be used to troubleshoot product issues or manage sales queries that could not be resolved through other avenues, such as your FAQ knowledge base.
Automated Help desks can perform many tasks, making staff input unnecessary and self-service a quicker solution. Quite often customers will reach out to the help desk without having first taken the time to check FAQs for a resolution to their problem. For the more common queries, standard answers can be pre-written and programmed into the help desk to quickly satisfy the request at a click of a button.
The Final Steps in Automating Your Business
So far, we’ve covered a few ways to automate different areas of your business that could save you an enormous amount of time and headaches. You may be feeling anxious about making these changes.
Don’t worry! You’re not going to automate everything at once.
Instead, look again at each area we covered:
- Website Traffic
- Customer Support
- Content Creation
Next, create a section in Evernote, OneNote or whatever note-taking app you use regularly and start planning which aspects of your business you can begin to automate. Just remember to start slow and document everything you do.
Originally published at www.shelleygraves.net on January 12, 2019.