How To Effectively Embrace Automation

Posted by Jacob Goodwin in Insights - Last updated

Automation exists to make your life easier.

From the small processes, like instantaneous push notifications, through to NASA’s revolutionary feats of engineering putting robots on Mars.

Automation at it’s very core increases our efficiency and enhances our productivity.

So for any business concerned with their continued success, it is essential that considerable time and thought are invested in ensuring operations run as smoothly as possible.

This is where automation comes into it’s own; not to replace human activity, but to enhance it.

However, for many organisations, the question remains as to how. What is it they need to do to effectively embrace automation?

Automation At A Glance

To embrace automation is to alleviate the pressure placed on organisations currently wasting precious resources on time consuming administrative tasks or repetitive customer communications.

Freeing up your team’s specialised skillsets means they can be put to greater effect, with more time invested into the activities that really matter.

“When it comes to business processes, 60% of occupations could save 30% of their time with automation.

MCKINSEY

But what actually is automation?

According to the dictionary definition, automation is…

The use or introduction of automatic equipment in a manufacturing or other process or facility.”

Oxford Dictionary

This description feels somewhat dated.

Likely due to the fact that automation as an idea was born on the factory lines at Ford way back in 1947!

Putting the concept instead into a modern, business environment, automation defines the introduction of a wide range of technologies that reduce human intervention in processes.

Therefore the process of automation can be introduced to virtually each and every aspect of an organisation.

Embrace Automation In Your Business

Prior to a business seeking to embrace automation, the more research, preparation and internal discussion you put in, the greater the rewards you’ll get out.

To harvest the lowest hanging fruit, you need to look at which processes would gain most. Perhaps that constitutes areas with the lowest productivity or the most repetitive and time-consuming tasks.

Just because automation is, by and large, applicable everywhere, that doesn’t mean everything should be automated.

Infrequent events are likely not worth investing time in automating. Whereas pinpointing regular roadblocks or common bottlenecks should be the priority.

Similarly, automation can’t fix a broken workflow.

If there are wider issues at play, take time to sort those out first. Then, consider how automation can increase their future efficiency when they’re fully up and running.

Once the areas for improvement have been identified, ensure that any potential risks, whether they be security or disruption related, are mitigated for and bring all affected parties up to speed to ensure a seamless transition.

An API may be able to replace the manual input, but if the result can’t be actioned, there’s a major risk of limited benefits.

The final stage is to implement the new approach. Don’t bite off more than you can chew here.

Start with a single process that presents the least amount of risk. Testing the water minimises disruption to major workflows and processes.

Be too hasty and you might just make it worse.

Rejecting The Robot

Having discussed automation and it’s application, it’s vital we pause for a potentially obvious, yet significant, clarification.

Automation is not there to replace the human connection.

That is something modern businesses simply cannot afford to lose.

Particularly in relation to enhancing the customer experience, automation should support, rather than replace your direct, customer interactions.

“86% of consumers prefer to interact with a human agent.

71% said they would be less likely to use a brand if it didn’t have human customer service representatives available.”

MCKINSEY

In this vein, automation needs to feel authentic and should be personalised, at scale, wherever feasibly possible.

This could be something as simple as including customer names, order details or product preferences in your messaging.

Likewise, automated communications should come from the salesperson, store or relationship holder involved.

Should a disconnect arise, automated interactions can actually go a long way in alienating the client rather than making them feel valued and special.

Don’t get blinkered solely by gains in efficiency and productivity. Remember, automation is there to augment your offering and enhance the customer experience.

Leave your staff to focus on the face to face, both they and customers alike will thank you for it.

Efficient & Effective

Embracing automation provides a sure fire method for increasing efficiency without compromising the human touch.

Not only can automation create significant financial and temporal savings, it helps to breed consistency across a workforce, no matter their proximity.

“Automation is proven to boost sales productivity by 14.5%, can lead to a 30% increase in deal closures and a 14% reduction in sales administration time.”

ADOHM

Your people can be their brilliant selves face to face, safely in the knowledge that the time intensive back end of the customer process is taken care of.

By reducing the risks of inconsistency, an organisation can guarantee a quality customer experience each and every time. Rather than chasing your tail, you can stay on the front foot.

You hired your specialists for their knowledge and expertise, not to have them sit idle for almost 30% of their working week.

Automation helps you to get the most out of them by allowing them to focus on their true purpose.


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Jacob Goodwin -

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