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How Should I Be Using Automation In My Business?

by Debi Enders

If you’ve been reluctant to automate parts of your business, you may be suffering some consequences. A recent survey of 500 small business owners found that those that automate their processes are 1.6-times more likely to grow than those that don’t.1

By replacing manual, recurring tasks with digital processes, when practical, you’ll not only streamline your operations, but also free up staff time for other priorities. Here are some places to start:

Repetitive and Daily Tasks – Begin by identifying repetitive tasks that can be appropriately handled by technology. The quality and efficiency of inventory management and report generation, for example, can be improved through automation. Automated systems can be designed to send emails to acknowledge new customers, check on purchases or provide other types of customer support.

Bookkeeping – Accounting software can help with basic data entry tasks. More advanced solutions are also able to read and prepare invoices, set invoice reminders, release payments on an automated schedule, connect your books to your bank so you can access your transaction history – and more.

Customer Service – Automating your customer management system can be a game-changer for many businesses. If you aren’t already, you should probably be collecting and securely storing customer contact information, preferences, upcoming appointments and other key data that can support your marketing and sales. To manage customer inquiries, consider replacing phone-based support with an online customer portal. Today’s portals allow customers to update their information, check and settle account balances, resolve problems and more – with human follow up available, if needed.

You may be concerned that your business might lose its human touch by automating. But remember: automation should never replace building customer relationships, only make it easier to do so.

The Bottom Line: Automation allows you to work smarter, not harder. Technologies free up valuable time that can be spent on growing your business.

1 Sophy, Joshua. (2017, Oct 17). Automation Crucial to Growing Your Small Business. Retrieved from smallbiztrends.com.

Debi Enders (debi.enders@commercebank.com) is vice president, small business banking at Commerce Bank.


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