Business And Process Automations – How Bots and Zaps Make Your Life Easier
Do you know what a “Bot” is? Or a “Zap”? If you wonder: “What the heck is this about?”, no worries! We got you covered! Bots and Zaps are words that are used in process automations. And this article we will help you understand what process automation is. Also, we will provide you some inspiration. And we’ll give you some reasons why you might want to think about automating your business more.
What is a process automation?
Simply put, these are usually systems or software products that automate a manual process. In your business, you have certain activities that happen on a regular basis. This could be research work, responding to messages, sharing content, scheduling meetings or many others.
Usually, when you work, you will face so-called “system breaks”. These are the moments when you switch from one system to another one. For example, when you use the phone to talk to a customer about a meeting and then you need to schedule it in your calendar. Then you need to send out a message to confirm. Afterwards, you may have to still add a note to the customer file – whether manually or electronically. And finally, you add reminders for yourself. Just in this example, you may have 3-4 different system breaks. Phone to calendar, calendar to customer file, customer file to email message.
Process Automations can reduce the amount of system breaks and make your work much more efficient.
Examples for Process Automations
To give you some more ideas about what process automations can do, here are some examples of typical business processes:
Examples for organizational tasks:
- Google Alerts: You can set so-called Google Alerts within Google. Here, you can define keywords that you want to monitor. Google sends you a message when there are new articles or news.
- Automatic rules in email inboxes: If you work with systems and get a lot of email notifications, you can create separate folders. Then, you can add rules to filter these notifications. In this way, you can focus on the relevant messages.
- Automating repetitive tasks: When you work with banking systems, you can have rules implemented. These rules automatically book transactions based on e.g. name, amount and client number. In this way, you only have to focus on anything that cannot be executed automatically.
- Sending dial-in information automatically to participating parties upon scheduling a conference call: When you maintain an online calendar, you may want to let clients schedule into the free slots you have available. Also, you want to immediately inform them about dial-in numbers and any other information required as preparation.
Examples for Marketing and Sales:
- Email Autoresponders: Automatic emails that are sent to e.g. new contacts. These can even be entire sequences that you create once. And then they are sent out when a new customer joins your newsletter or your email list.
- Transferring contacts in your autoresponder: If you sell products or run marketing campaigns to generate new leads, you want to have them in your email autoresponder list, so that you can communicate with them.
- Sales & Marketing sequences: In Marketing and Sales, you want to guide your prospects through automatic sequences based on their interests. So that once you have them in your sequence, you don’t have to send manually messages to everybody.
- Creating invoices automatically upon specific actions: When you sell products or services, you want the invoices to be generated automatically upon the purchase.
- Publishing Social Media posts to various platforms: When you create content, you want the content to be published to all your Social Media platforms. Without having to manually go into each account all the time.
- Creating automatic tasks for new customers: If you win new customers, you may want to have somebody of your team or you yourself be informed about the new customer. And then schedule follow-up tasks to foster the new relationship.
- Create new leads from Social Media in Customer Management or Email Autoresponder systems: If you generate new leads from your Social Media campaigns, you may want to have them at a central place. This could be your Customer Management System or your Email Autoresponder list. And you want your leads in that list without having to manually copy and paste them.
Examples for Reporting:
- Automatic reports: You can have reports sent to your inbox automatically to always have the latest data available.
- Transferring data into a master table: You may have several systems and want to see a summary of what is going on in an overall table. Thus, data from several sources are copied into the same table.
There are of course many more cases, where automation can support you and your business. This list just serves as inspiration to spark your ideas on what is possible.
Benefits of Process Automations
Most of the time, when system breaks are involved, information gets lost. Maybe because you were distracted before you could finish a process. Or because you skipped a step. It just happens. When you automate processes, you don’t have to worry about such repetitive tasks.
Another major benefit is that the type of tasks that can be automated don’t require too much of your brain power. Thus, they actually draw your energy away from the really important topics in your business. Automating such processes frees up your time for things that matter – and that are much more fun to do.
Process Automation also requires no breaks, weekends, or holidays. When new clients join your email list, the messages will be sent immediately, whether you are working or not.
Also, you can reduce operating costs, because usually, a system can do the tasks even faster than a person. Which means you need less staff to get this done. This in turn can make you more competitive because you reduce your overhead costs.
Finally, you can also ensure consistent work quality, because a system does not have any bad days or shifts in motivation.
How do I get started?
This will be our topic for next week. But to give you an outlook, we will dig into which options exist and what to consider when automating your business processes. In the meantime, you should check out our previously published article about “How To Find The Right Software For Your Needs”.
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