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5 Things Your Small Business Should Automate
From email marketing to sales, automation has taken the world (and small businesses) by storm. Large, global companies aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits of setting up a process once and letting it work its magic.
Automating tasks – whether it’s in your personal or professional life – frees up time that was previously spent on manual tasks. Think about the ease (and mindlessness) of auto-draft for your personal bills. This kind of automation can be implemented into your business, too. It gives back more of your most precious asset: time.
As a small business owner, time is everything. Here’s a list of tasks that you should consider automating so you can have more time to do what you love.
1. Customer Service
Are you still answering phone calls from customers and leads after hours? Or worse, are you using your personal phone number to take business calls? These two factors can make it feel like there is no distinction between your work and personal life.
With the use of a virtual phone number app, like Ninja Number, you can set up automated customer service so you can truly “close” at 5PM each day – giving you more time to spend with family and friends.
This technology greets incoming callers or leads and guides them through a process that you customize to your business. Whether you want to answer frequently asked questions (like hours and directions) or have other team members take calls during specific hours, a virtual phone number app lets you do just that without ever picking up the phone.
You can also create pre-set sequences or autoreplies to take care of matters via text message. However, if you still want a “hand” in responding to customers, a virtual phone number app lets you pause the automation and chat within the dashboard, ensuring personal and professional conversations are kept separate. Automated customer service offers a personal experience for the caller and guarantees that none of your leads or calls go untouched.
2. Your “Contact Us” Button
There is no greater time to engage with a potential customer than when they have just attempted to contact you. Getting back to them in a timely manner can make or break your relationship. In fact, one study found that if you even wait a half hour to contact them, the likelihood that you qualify them as a lead drops by twenty-one times.
This is where automation comes in. You can connect the software with your “contact us” form on your website, which instantly sends a prospect an email once they fill it out. This lets the person know they’re being taken care of, and on the back end, the software assigns the lead to someone on your team.
3. Your Sales Process
Turning a lead in to a loyal customer requires quite a few steps, and if each salesperson goes their own route, you could end up with lost leads and tarnished relationships.
Creating and automating your sales process helps nurture prospects throughout the sales process, while providing complete transparency across your team. As each step is checked off, it’s clear to every employee who is responsible for each task, which in turn, guarantees a smoother process for your potential client.
4. Client Onboarding
Once a prospect becomes a lead, what processes do you have in place to make them feel welcome? If you don’t have one, or if you’re doing this manually, automation makes this process much easier.
Using automated email software like MailChimp or ConstantContact lets you set up an onboarding sequence, timed exactly how you want. Consider thanking them for becoming a customer, offering some kind of incentive or gift, and then providing continuous content that nurtures them and keeps your brand front and center.
Keeping track of every transaction and missed payment is tedious for any business owner. Whether a payment was missed because of a declined credit card or because someone simply forgot to pay, not getting paid can really hurt a small business. Automation can remove this burden.
For recurring payments, create a “trigger” within your billing software that sends you an email when a payment fails. You will know instantly that there was an issue and address it with your customer before it’s too late.
For credit card expiration issues, you can also tell your software to identify ones that are approaching expiration, and it will communicate with customers to update their information.
Whether you want to automate customer service or billing, your options to streamline tasks within your small business are endless. If you’re having a hard time figuring out which ones to streamline, make a list of tasks that take up the most of your time. It’s likely that there’s an automation platform that can take care of the manual work for you.
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