What is automation? This is something that comes up frequently, and that is because of how important automation can be to any industry. Automation can best be simplified as something that your software system does for you so that you don’t need to. This can be as simple as an email after someone has been browsing your website, and even specializing the content based on the specific pages they browsed.
One example of this is if they are interested in blue shirts, let’s send them a subsection of your most popular blue shirts. A more complicated automation could include a hand-off from the sales team, to project management on a completely custom project. Another example of this is if a customer buys two different services, a custom marketing campaign and new website. The website will need to be done by one of our web developers and a graphic designer, and the marketing campaign will need a marketing agent and a graphic designer.
An automation for this can range from assigning a task to an administrator to get the project delegated out all the way to a very complex system that checks which web developer, graphic designer, and marketing agent will have the time to deliver the project on schedule without affecting their current workload and assigning them automatically.
The Individualization of Workflow Automations
Customized automations offer many benefits. And yes, they can be and should be, built around you. The above example for web development and marketing services can be simplified to two different departments that are working together, and when one department is finished, they click a button that automatically passes it to the next team with all the information that they need to do their work.
Automations work best when they don’t force you change how you talk about the work you are doing. For example, in Basecamp, there are special names for your chat (campfire), email replacement (message board), and internal meetings (automatic check-ins). What’s more, you can’t change the name of these tools inside of Basecamp.
In Podio, we have the ability to customize almost any aspect of your system. Do you call your hand-off call from sales a “Kick-Off” instead? So does Podio. The important thing about this is that the internal nomenclature you use isn’t going to be thrown for a loop when you adopt Podio as your new system to run automations through.
How Automation Affects Your Brand
The impact of automation on your brand is wide-reaching, and some of the impacts might not be noticed until after you have been using a new system for some time. The three that we are going to cover today are how your employees perceive your brand, how your brand is perceived in your industry, and most importantly how the processes affect the relationship you have with your customers.
Of the three, the most apparent is that employees will notice an uptick in their productivity and have reduced busy work. We’ve talked about the impacts of automating internally before, and we cannot stress enough how the elimination of errors and the increase in accountability will be an attitude that employees will take to the public space when representing your brand. This encourages ownership of your brand, and a desire to be known for the work that your brand is putting out.
Whether you’re on the cutting edge of your industry, or you are catching up to the big names and hoping to overtake them- your brand has a reputation amongst your peers. When you have automations that are keeping your business and workplace current with industry standards, it becomes substantially easier to give off the professional appeal that is required for solid networking.
These automations can range from a simple internal forum where best practices and pertinent industry documentation are brought in via RSS or email subscriptions, all the way to an automated training system that prompts your employees to take trainings.
Customers can interact with your brand in a plethora of ways. It is important for the customer to know that your brand knows who they are, and that it is being taken into account in all of your interactions. A good example of this is customer outreach to give the status of a current project.
Let’s say you have an old-fashioned customer who wants a phone call for any updates like this. That contact preference can be recorded in the client profile, and instead of sending out a templated project update email your automated system would instead create a task for the project manager to call your client and give them the update.
The importance of communicating to your clients in their preferred space cannot be underscored enough. The client will be more receptive to the updates they are receiving, they will know that their preferences are important to you and your brand, and most importantly they know what you are working on that they are getting their money’s worth out of the project so they can clearly see the value added by your brand.
Tying Everything Together
At the end of the day, what is most important is that your automations are working for you. When each piece comes together it becomes simpler for employees to get their work completed, easier for you customers to know that their money is being spent on a worthwhile investment, and you will be able to stay up to date on industry best practices.
Automation is crucial, but it is important that your automation marketing efforts are taking your brand to the next level, instead of trying to fit your brand inside a system that was designed for someone else. When all of it works together your brand will speak for itself, and you will be able to focus on day to day operations.
President and founder of DVI, Aaron Boerger realized early in life that he had a unique combination of x-ray vision and business acumen for seeing the weaknesses that held businesses back – and the ability to define the right tools, technology and strategy to make them stronger.
From founding a successful technology support business in his early teens, to serving as Chief Operating Officer for several companies in the financial, technology and marketing industries, Aaron has developed a reputation for reinventing technology implementation tactics – and the willingness to tell people not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear, in order to achieve success without overwhelm.
Aaron will always go the extra mile to provide the accountability and support his clients need to achieve their goals, yet isn’t afraid to tell them when they are doing something wrong.