RPA, machine learning, AI, and more tools to automate your day
While not quite at Matrix or Terminator levels yet, artificial intelligence (AI) and automated processes are increasingly vital to businesses at every level. Machines haven’t quite taken over the workforce, but automation, AI, robotic process automation (RPA), and machine learning are top of the list when it comes to increasing productivity and driving success and profits.
Most importantly for businesses, automation and AI doesn't have to be a complicated, scary thing to embrace. There are a wide range of basic tasks and processes common to almost all companies that can be easily automated, and there are many tools that are simple to use and can have huge benefits for businesses.
Why should you automate processes?
The greatest gift automation can give to a business is time. Less time spent on repetitive day-to-day tasks means more time for staff to do what they do best. With machines taking care of the admin, people and resources are freed up to be creative and drive growth and success.
Automated labor can help to cut down on human error, get rid of unproductive work hours, reduce the cost of unnecessary training and reduce the chance of mishaps when it comes to production. Automated technology also speeds up processes, reducing the need for time wasted by double-checking admin processes and bringing products to market sooner. Additionally, AI and automated machines don’t need downtime or vacation, so many basic processes can be ongoing, again helping you deliver completed contracts faster.
Automation can be incredibly helpful for developing good customer relations as well, from automated emails and reminders to chatbots that allow a business to increase its ability to respond to and assist customers.
So really, when it comes to automation, the question isn’t why, but what. What can you automate to supercharge your business and drive growth? Read on for some of the best ways automation can work for you.
What can be automated?
Automation is not just for large corporations and can be used for a whole host of things that small and medium businesses can take advantage of.
Marketing automation is one of the most effective ways to incorporate AI and automation into your business processes. Automated processes allow you to develop and retain leads more quickly and effectively than ever before. You can respond immediately to emails, assign tasks and tickets more effectively, and follow up quickly and simply with networking contacts.
Automation can also have a huge impact on sales, converting leads to customers and keeping tabs on warm potential clients throughout the process. You can automate your sales pipeline, rank your most promising leads automatically, and keep your relationship going with leads who aren’t quite ready to commit. You can also make new customers feel valued with automated welcome messages, ensuring retention.
Automation is a great way to keep eCommerce customers buying as well. You can automate reminders for abandoned carts, encourage repeat business with targeted sales follow-up messages, and keep on top of any failed payments.
Automation allows you to treat customers in the way that you would like to if you had the time and the resources. You can personalize your customer service in a way that would be impossible otherwise, from marking birthdays and sending important reminders to offering faster and more effective ways for them to get in contact and have their questions answered. Automation allows you to keep email lists clean and up-to-date, give clients easy access to their accounts (help them recover passwords and so on), and even interact with and gain social media followers.
There are even a bunch of things automation can do internally to make running the office a smoother process. While AI and robots shouldn’t replace human workers (we’re not working for Skynet, after all), when it comes to sending important information, dealing with recruitment, or keeping remote staff engaged and in touch, there are plenty of ways machine learning can help.
Some of the best automation tools for businesses
Microsoft Power Automate
The gold standard for businesses, Microsoft Power Automate (the new name for Microsoft Flow) allows all employees to become developers in their daily work processes. Power Automate gives everyone the tools they need to create automated workflows and tasks across multiple applications and services and even create simple apps and bots themselves. Power Automate integrates with the entire O365 suite and gives all your staff the chance to use AI and machine learning to make their work easier and more effective.
Zapier is a pretty simple automation platform that allows you to create automatic actions between common applications and programs. This can mean your blog posts are automatically published to your social media feeds, your emails are automatically saved to the cloud, or your documents are saved in multiple locations at once.
If your business produces a lot of written content, then Grammarly can be a great way to keep on top of it. It provides a great way of ensuring that spelling and grammar for emails, blogs, and social media content look professional and well-written.
ActiveCampaign is a pretty superb all-in-one marketing automation platform. It combines email marketing features and an enterprise-standard CRM into something that is suitable (and priced) for businesses of all sizes.
LeadFormly is a great way to automate sales processes, allowing businesses to handle a higher volume of leads. It increases conversion rates and gives organizations an excellent amount of data on potential customers, which can be vital to the sales process.
Xero helps businesses keep a lid on their finances, providing automated accounting, cash flow management, and invoice software. This is a great way to ensure that growth doesn’t end up being more expensive than you can afford and to keep your business model sustainable.
A robust sales and marketing solution with some great educational resources, it uses real-time data to provide businesses with the targeted information they need to build leads and make sales.
For more information on how AI and automation can help your business, get in touch with the expert team at VC3. We’ll show you how the future of business is automation and help you navigate your way to supercharging your business processes.