At a time when many companies are stretched thin — facing both unprecedented demand and a disrupted labor market — it can easily seem like there is just too much work to possibly do.
With the right tech, you can help yourself and your team to manage this workload. Automation is a powerful tool for handling repetitive, tedious tasks that eat up time every day.
These are six killer automation strategies that will help your business streamline its workflows cut out tedious tasks — freeing you and your employees to tackle the stuff that really matters.
1. Schedule Your Social Media Presence
Most social media platforms offer post scheduling and other social media marketing tools, but each of these platforms will be cut off from the rest. If you have an ad campaign you want to coordinate across LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, you’ll need to manually set up each of the campaigns, scheduling the same posts each time.
There are tools that you can use to centralize your social media presence. These tools allow you to automatically schedule posts across platforms from the same dashboard, making it easy to coordinate large social media campaigns.
Social media management tools can also track customer questions and complaints on social media, helping you respond to all customer questions in a timely fashion.
2. Keep Customers Engaged
Many ecommerce tools and sales automations come with features that help you keep customers engaged as they move through the sales funnel.
With an automatic email, you can notify customers of abandoned carts, thank them for their first purchase and use their order history and preferences to clue them in about the most relevant deals. You can even automatically generate bundles and offers tailored to their interests with the right tool.
You can also use these tools to manage incentive programs, which are one of the best ways to build up your customer base. By offering points, rewards or special deals to repeat customers, you encourage those who convert to keep coming back, helping you create a base of return customers that you can count on.
3. Don’t Leave Customers Hanging
Customers hate waiting for support. If they have a question, they want an answer as quickly as possible. The longer the wait, the less likely they’ll be to shop with your brand again. Live chat is a staple for many companies’ customer support strategies, but your customer service representatives aren’t always available right away. With automation, you can help them out.
New customer service chatbots come with advanced AI tech — including natural language processing, or NLP — that allows them to intelligently “read” and respond to customer requests. These bots can’t handle everything, but their AI tech allows them to manage simple customer requests. They can also pick up a lot of valuable information — what a client needs, how they’re feeling and even how likely they are to convert — that can be passed on to human reps. These reps can then have the best possible information and will be able to start a fruitful conversation knowing how to approach the customer’s needs.
These solutions are great if your customer base has quickly outgrown your customer support team or if your customer support team is struggling to coordinate service and information transfer between representatives.
4. Automatically Test for Usability
Website usability has a huge impact on whether or not customers stick around once they’ve clicked through to a landing page.
UX testing tools allow you to automate much of this testing. With these tools, you design a test that the automation application will automatically serve to a number of paid testers. They’ll then run through your test and report back on what it felt like to navigate your site. Often, these tests will be recorded, meaning you can see how people are responding to your site’s design in real-time, allowing you to see where your web design may be confusing or awkward to use.
When picking a UX testing tool, be sure to look for vendors who are likely to deliver top-quality automation solutions. These vendors will typically work with you as you use the tool, providing their business expertise and coaching you in best practices. They may not, however, be the cheapest option available.
5. Manage Your Leads
You or your sales team have likely been overwhelmed by the number of leads generated by your lead form at some point in the past. In the same way that chatbots can be used to automatically respond to customers and collect information on what they’re after, sales automation solutions can help you automatically organize and follow up on leads.
These solutions can standardize and automatically generate lead forms that are more likely to generate leads. They can also automatically assign leads to customer service reps, ensuring that your service team isn’t overwhelmed by the volume of emails they receive and each lead receives some attention.
You and your team can use this information to automatically launch cold email campaigns and otherwise get the attention of the leads you’ve gathered.
6. Automate (Almost) Anything and Everything Else
There are also workflow automation tools out there that aim to handle just about everything else.
These solutions lack the kind of depth you’ll get with other strategies and tools on this list — but if you need to quickly automate a simple task, like attaching the same file to a batch of emails or automatically sharing survey results to a company chat, they are a great way to cut down on the time you spend dealing with tech.
Keep in mind, however, that you can’t automate everything, even with these tools. The best automation tools are just that — tools that help your employees streamline their workflows and free up time for more valuable and creative work. If a task isn’t repetitive or tedious right now, you may struggle to automate it. Everything else, though, is probably fair game.
Saving Time With Automation Tools
If you feel like you or your team is stretched thin, automation is a great way to cut back on tedious tasks and reduce your workload. With automation tools, you can streamline just about anything — including social media management, web UX testing and lead generation. These tools can’t automate everything — but the right tool can seriously help your team stay on top of their work.
Lexie is a UX designer and digital nomad. She enjoys kayaking with her goldendoodle and baking new cookie recipes. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.