Improving Productivity With AutomationAUTHOR: Noah Rue
The modern business world is all about chasing productivity. Doing things better and faster is always rewarded — especially in areas like the gig economy or small business where productivity is the difference between success and failure.
There are many ways to improve productivity and make more time, such as being more efficient, delegating tasks, and learning the power of saying “no.”
One area, in particular, where productivity thrives is through utilizing automation, especially in the tech-heavy 21st-century.
Why Automation Helps with Productivity
While the generic statement that “automation helps with productivity” is easy to accept, it doesn’t actually provide many details about how automation can truly increase your efficiency and output.
There are many different ways that automation very tangibly impacts productivity within business operations. For instance, it can:
- Eliminate mundane tasks and free up employee time.
- Increase worker efficiency.
- Enhance and simplify the supply chain, accounting, and other areas of management.
- Streamline warehouse efficiency.
Automation has often been seen as a death knell to human employment, as well, but this assumption belies the true effects of properly implemented automotive tech. In many cases, the introduction of automation has directly led to significant increases in the human workforce. The use of automation often relieves these workers of mundane tasks and allows them to upskill their talents as they learn to scale existing operations and manage the automated software and hardware that is doing the grunt work.
Here are a few more specific ways that implementing automation can directly impact businesses of all sizes and from any industry.
Automation in Customer Service
Like much of the business world, the customer service sector has gone through a rather dramatic shift in the last few decades. Call centers have been replaced with “contact centers” that juggle multiple channels of communication including everything from phone calls to emails, texts, chat windows, and social media interactions.
With so many channels requiring management, two of the major areas where automation is making a difference in customer service is via chatbots and CCaaS software. Chatbots provide 24/7 automated help for visitors to e-commerce and business websites. They operate with increasingly sophisticated software that allows them to receive input and provide any required information. They can also pass off a customer to the most qualified human customer service rep when necessary.
CCaaS (or contact center as a service) systems tend to focus more on organization. These massive, typically cloud-based software solutions help your customer service representatives receive communications from multiple channels, respond in a timely and efficient manner, and address customer relationship management (CRM) by storing information for future interactions.
Automation in Accounting
Accounting is an area of business that has been absolutely revolutionized by automation. Just a handful of the different activities that have been touched by technology include:
- Processing payments automatically using apps like Square or PayPal.
- Using an app like GoCardless to automate direct debit via bank-to-bank transactions.
- Paying employees by depositing funds directly into their bank account with direct deposit.
- Utilizing apps like Quickbooks to organize information and generate important documentation
- Creating automated invoicing and billing templates using things like recurring billing and automated scheduled reminders.
- Using smart scanning apps to input information quickly and speed up bookkeeping tasks.
While there are numerous financial aspects of a company that can be automated, it’s always wise to consider the options and create an app stack (that is, a “stack” of applications) that specifically meet your accounting department’s needs.
Automation in Marketing
Marketing is another area of business that looks completely different now than it did twenty years ago. While online marketing was technically around during the turn of the century, it was still in its infancy. Email and e-commerce existed, but things like social media and pay per click marketing were still just getting started.
Now, the birth and growth of the online marketing world have created a haven for automation to work its magic. Once again, just a handful of the various tasks that can be automated in this area include:
- Scheduling automatic social media posts with tools like Hootsuite or HubSpot.
- Creating email funnels and abandoned cart follow-ups with tools like MailChimp.
- Using data to segment your online marketing to increase the personalization of each message.
Automation is rapidly allowing smaller companies to stand on an equal footing with larger corporations in their promotional efforts. It’s also freeing up marketing personnel to focus on things like customer acquisition and creating quality content.
Automation in Professional Life
Finally, automation is having a huge impact on how professionals go about their daily work, regardless of the specific labor that they’re engaged in.
For instance, automating email processing — the time spent responding to emails — frees up employees’ time by helping them avoid the approximately 17 hours on average each week spent responding to electronic communications.
In addition, activities like collaboration and communication can benefit individuals immensely when they’re streamlined by automation. This is especially true in the remote-first work world created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Tools like Google Drive, Asana, and Tallyfy can be used to provide notifications to team members who are working remotely on a task. This enables each employee to complete their task and move on without taking the time to track down each member of the team to inform them that they’ve made a change or addition to a project.
Using Automation to Improve Productivity
Automation is a powerful modern tool that is only becoming more efficient and capable every year. With so much promise in the months and years ahead, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses and individuals to take advantage of automation if they want to keep up in their industries and careers, respectively.
Fortunately, most of the automation that is impacting business doesn’t need complex formulas and algorithms or even a college degree to understand. Instead, they simply require open minds and a willingness to learn and upskill your talents as you adapt to each new piece of automated tech that comes along.
If you can maintain a growth mindset toward automation, you will be able to take full advantage of the productivity that it offers throughout the rest of your career.