Easy steps towards automation to future proof your small business

Boosting productivity, driving down costs and optimising processes are some of the common drivers behind automation. Automating business processes can free up resources and enable organisations to focus on achieving growth and improving the customer experience. Cloud-based solutions have extended the benefits of automation to small businesses.

To get the maximum benefit from automation, consider which tasks and processes to prioritise. The first thing to establish is which of your processes could benefit from automation and which could be simplified. One area that’s often overlooked is shipping and mailing. By automating this process, you can save time and money, and improve your overall customer experience.

Here are four areas in your business to review for automation opportunities:

  1. Automate to improve the customer experience
  2. Improving the customer experience should be at the centre of the automation journey. Businesses that do this will reap the rewards, seeing measurable improvements in both customer retention and satisfaction.

    Consumers are looking for a seamless experience across all channels they use to interact with a business. Investing in systems such as CRM can help you deliver a personalised and streamlined customer experience. Other improvements could be automating customer queries through a chatbot. This can remove frustration for customers, while internal teams can take care of personal interactions to build relationships and drive growth.

  3. Automate to improve the employee experience
  4. Engaged employees deliver a better customer experience, which has a positive impact on the bottom line: research by Aberdeen has found that businesses with a formal engagement strategy are 67 per cent more likely to improve their revenue than those that do not.

    Prioritising the automation of tedious and administrative tasks can improve productivity and boost motivation, generating cost savings and driving engagement. If employees are in different locations, automating processes to keep them connected can help also them feel more engaged and closer to their colleagues.

    Another example would be to digitise physical mail, so it isn’t waiting in an office for the employee who might not be working there. Many automation technologies are easily accessible regardless of device or location, making them perfect for remote workers.

  5. Automate processes which could pose a threat to the business
  6. Human error is still one of the greatest risks for businesses today. Manual processes, such as data input for accounting, invoicing and reporting, are prone to mistakes. These errors can be costly and create a significant level of risk to your business and employees.

    With various global and local regulations in place relating to data privacy, businesses need to have watertight processes in place to manage, store and access customer details. Manual processes open the door to errors and inefficiencies in data management, putting your business at risk of non-compliance and as a result, fines from regulators.

    For example, mailing the wrong billing information to the wrong customer contravenes personal data protection regulations. This risk can be eliminated by automating mail processes with technologies that automate folding, inserting and sealing, and use 2D barcode scanning to minimise the risk of error. Automating processes such as visitor management and incoming parcel management will also improve transparency and visibility across an organisation, reducing risk.

  7. Automate areas likely to become pain points in the future
  8. Many manual processes are coming under pressure as businesses and markets evolve. They may work now but face threats down the line. Identifying and optimising these processes early on means employees can be trained on new systems, allowing for a smooth transition to growth with minimal impact on your customers.

    For example, as online shopping becomes increasingly popular and ecommerce grows, businesses that are still using manual shipping processes should consider automating those. The recent Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index predicts global shipping to reach 200 billion parcels by 2025. It also found that, in 2018, Australians shipped 864 million parcels, an increase of 10 per cent versus the previous year. An integrated shipping and mailing platform can help businesses prepare for the surge in parcel shipping and get ahead of the competition.

    Pitney Bowes has a range of solutions and products that can help automate business processes in your organisation. Find the solution that suits you here.

You may be interested in:

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Receiving and tracking solutions

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