7 things every business should automate.

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ASmall business automation tools

What if you could save time, improve efficiency, and provide your customers with a better experience, all while actually taking work off your plate?

Automation is the tool of the innovative business. When you use automation tools, you’re enabling your team to work more efficiently, as well as providing your customers with a better experience. These tools, combined with a talented team, can streamline everything from marketing to customer relations and internal processes. Save yourself time and precious energy with our suggested list of automation tools for small businesses!

1) Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Efficiently managing a lead pipeline can be difficult, but customer relationship management software can make the process much easier to manage. With the right tools, you can better target your leads, improve customer experience, and manage your sales process. For example, imagine being able to delight your customers with anniversary emails and product updates, automatically. Implementing a CRM allows you to provide your customers with a premium experience, without the extra work.

Examples:

  • Infusionsoft is a CRM specially tailored for small businesses. Their tool helps small business owners reach the right customers at the right time and provides insights into who customers are and what they’re doing.
  • Clio is designed to help solo or small firm employees build a better practice with case, client, document, bill, and time tracking capabilities. If you’re looking to improve your practice’s efficiency, Clio can help.

2) Invoicing

As a small business, it’s vital you stay on top of your accounting and invoicing. With the help of automation you can streamline recurring invoices, centralize timesheets, and automatically track what’s been paid, and what hasn’t. Put your customers at ease with proper, reliable, and consistent invoicing.

Examples:

  • Freshbooks is easy to use accounting software that streamlines creating professional looking invoices, capturing expense reports, tracking billable moments, and collaborating with others.
  • Harvest empowers you to focus on doing your work, not tracking it. With a straightforward design and all the tools you need to organize your books, Harvest makes wasting hours on invoicing a thing of the past.

3) Social Media Scheduling and Management

In this day and age, social media is a vital part of every business’ marketing efforts—no matter how big or small. Scheduling tools allow you to manage your social media presence across platforms, maintain a personal connection with your customers, and stay organized. Share a product update across your social networks and update your customers about special events automatically. Making a personal connection has never been so easy!

Examples:

  • Buffer and Hootsuite each offer unique platforms that help you to streamline your social media efforts by scheduling posts at the optimum time, posting across social networks, uploading custom photos and videos, and centralizing all of your social efforts.
  • IFTTT is an innovative tool that allows you to work more efficiently by helping you with social sharing, productivity, web alerts, and more. Save time and keep up with industry news with IFTTT.

4) Customer support

Quality customer support automation allows you to provide a personal touch, while also making it easy to quickly view, catalog and reference customer requests. By building out processes through automation, your employees can focus on providing the highest quality of customer care.

Example:

  • Zapier is the tool you want at your side to centralize workflow. By connecting all your apps, automating routine tasks, and building processes, Zapier ensures that everything you need to support your customers is always at your fingertips.

5) Appointment and Meeting Scheduling

Scheduling meetings and appointments can be bothersome with variable schedules and busy customers, and nobody enjoys a missed or rescheduled meeting. An efficient scheduling software simplifies managing your day, while also helps you build trust with your customer base, and makes your company feel more approachable and accessible.

Example:

  • AppointmentCore is a fantastic tool that integrates with major calendar and meeting apps. This innovative software creates timeslots for your customers, update internal schedules, and displays easy to navigate calendars. You’ll never double book an appointment again.

6) Collecting Feedback from Customers

Customer feedback helps your company grow. Unfortunately collecting customer feedback can be, you guessed it, time-consuming. As your customer base grows, it gets harder and harder to reach out to each individual and request personalized feedback. Luckily there are tools to help!

Examples:

  • Mailchimp’s tagline is “send better email, sell more stuff.” It allows you to skip the process of selecting who to email, what to say, and when to send it by automating the whole process. Want to send a follow-up email right after a customer makes a purchase? No problem. Email is powerful, and Mailchimp puts this power at your fingertips.
  • SurveyMonkey enables you to make, deliver, and record the results of surveys, quickly and easily. Send your survey via mobile, web, or social media in an accessible format that clients can fill out effortlessly. Plus, it integrates with Mailchimp!

7) Office Supplies – Amazon Dash & Subscribe & Save

Shorten your work week and save time by automating your office supply orders. Avoid submitting the same supply order manually every month and have your orders sent out automatically, without a  second thought.

Examples:

  • Amazon Dash is the new way to shop. Using a simple button or wand, you can order new supplies quickly and effortlessly. It doesn’t get much more streamlined than this.
  • Amazon Subscribe and Save is perfect if you need the same supplies on a month-to-month basis. You just select an item, schedule deliveries, and subscribe to your order. Every month you’ll get your supplies and save up to 15%.

There’s a lot you can automate as a small business but you should never ever automate your phone service.

Nobody likes a robot! Try a virtual receptionist instead.

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