What are the major benefits of office automation?
At the start of the year, meeting rooms flourish with fresh ideas to propel new business growth. The room buzzes with excitement as each department unveils their plans to make it the best year yet.
How often do these big ideas eventually recede to the back burner? Faced with the daily grind, we often prioritize the routine busywork that crowds our to-do lists. Our days are so jam-packed that each day, 9 out of 10 workers fail to complete their task list. Consequently, we postpone business-growing ideas until later in the year—and sometimes they’re lost forever in the cobwebs of forgotten business plans.
Leading organizations are leveraging automation technology to axe the productivity drain and free up personnel to attack the exciting, high-value projects that skyrocket growth. From the front office to the back office, every department in your organization has the potential to reap huge benefits from automation.
How can automation help your team?
By implementing an office automation system, you can enlist the help of software to complete many of the repetitive, time-draining tasks that limit staff productivity. Office automation helps your team:
- Reduce the time it takes to run everyday operations
- Unmoor your team from paper-based manual processes like clunky spreadsheets, pencil bookkeeping, and overstuffed filing cabinets
- Banish bottlenecks that drain revenue and time
- Quickly access the information needed to make important decisions
- Create more time for the big, creative ideas that truly impact the success of your business
In your front office, sales, marketing, and customer service can use automation to better identify sales prospects, deliver a dazzling customer experience, nurture leads, and handle support tickets more swiftly.
In your back office, Human Resources, purchasing, accounting, and compliance teams can harness automation to secure top talent, reduce onboarding steps, digitize invoicing, and reduce regulatory risk.
Here are a few examples of how top organizations use office automation to increase productivity and efficiency.
Supporting front office tasks with automation
Your front office is the most customer-centric facet of your organization, responsible for creating an enjoyable, turbulence-free experience for each and every customer. If your team is tied down by toilsome to-dos, they’re unable to focus on executing the tasks needed to create customer-attracting experiences that captivate loyalty.
Unfortunately, too many organizations unknowingly handcuff sales productivity with administrative tasks and other routine processes, limiting the time reps are able to spend—well, selling. In fact, a recent study highlighted this bottom-line-busting trend: Sales reps spend almost 65% of their day on non-revenue generating activities. How can automation help you free up your team’s time so they can focus on closing new business?
- Eliminate manual data transfers: Sales teams often work from multiple disparate systems that fail to “talk to one another.” Consequently, reps spend a significant part of their day copying-and-pasting data across records, like moving customer information from a CRM into a contract or SLA. Tasks like this, that follow specific rules and templates, are prime candidates for automation.
- Ignite your list of hot leads: Instead of tasking your team to call a curious list of uncategorized leads, start providing them with a list of interested contacts ready to buy. Automation can help sort customers by their likelihood or readiness to purchase, and deliver a list of sizzling hot leads without the manual research.
Automation can help empower your sales team with the tools they need to focus on the level of positive relationship building that drives revenue.
Customer service team
Your service and support teams are on the front line when it comes to assuaging customer concerns. Almost 33% of customers agree—just one slow, roundabout customer service interaction is enough to send them fleeing towards a competitor. So how can you use automation to make sure your customer service team provides the lightning speed assistance that customers crave?
Instead of sending everyone to the same support line and driving up hold times, you can use chatbots to fill the gaps. Send softball questions—like password changes and order tracking—over to pre-programmed software that can easily comb your systems for the right information. Chatbots can help free up your staff’s time to fully focus on more challenging, complex questions and deliver spectacular problem resolution in record-time.
Supporting back office tasks with automation
While the back office has little face-to-face interaction with your customer, the pace and mindfulness at which they’re able to handle day-to-day tasks can trickle down into the experience you’re able to offer your customers.
The number of approvals required to finish a task are one of the many obstacles towards its completion. A department most marred by the approval process is Purchasing.
Approval for a purchase typically requires the wet signature of multiple stakeholders. Tracking which stakeholder is currently reviewing an order, which orders have been approved—and chasing the other down the hall between meetings for their sign-off—is a huge time drain on your purchasing staff. The longer it takes to make a purchase, the longer it takes to receive the materials, ultimately delaying service to your customer.
Using automation, you can automatically route the necessary paperwork to supervisors for review. Once a supervisor gives it their signature, it’s instantly sent up the flagpole to the next in line. After it completes the approval process, the system can automatically route it to the vendor. Without needing to scour their inbox or pick up their phone, purchasing professionals can quickly glance at a portal to determine where an order is within the workflow.
An organization is only as powerful as the strength and talent of its personnel. These critical HR tasks supporting the stars of your staff can pile on the paperwork and create impossible to track paper trails. How can automation ease the drain on your Human Resources department?
Too many organizations rely on paper-based or other convoluted methods to tabulate available vacation time. Instead of delivering digital copies of a time-off request or juggling emails back and forth, automation helps employees submit requests via an online portal. They can easily view their available time and make requests while the system can automatically route them along to the appropriate supervisors. Supervisors can even receive requests via text message so they can rapidly approve or deny even when not at their desk.
Instead of plodding through the day-to-day humdrum, automation can help your team break down productivity barriers and finally tackle the big projects that truly grow your business.