In business there are tasks and then there are important tasks. Far too often, mundane requirements and duties prevent professionals from tending to truly valuable activities.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an employee or a manager, there are many ways that automation can help clear your plate and leave room for the more important items on your agenda. Here are several simple tasks that you should consider automating with software to make your day more productive and efficient.
1. Streamline Payroll
It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about a tech giant or a local shoe shop, every business has to deal with payroll. No matter how removed your industry may be from the financial sector, you have to figure out how to crunch the numbers and get everyone paid in full and on time. Add things like taxes, insurance, and overhead costs into the mix, and dealing with an organization’s finances can become very time-consuming.
Automating your payroll efforts is a great way to cut back on the amount of time invested in your accounting department. A good payroll automation software option can offer an all-in-one platform that includes things like:
- Tools for time tracking, direct deposit, and benefits management;
- Tracking and filing payroll taxes both on a quarterly and annual basis;
- Remaining compliant throughout your financial activities.
With the efficiency of modern technology, you don’t even have to be a major corporation to be able to tap into these benefits. There are many payroll solutions for small businesses that make managing your finances a breeze.
2. Simplify Signatures and Paperwork
Another aspect of the daily grind revolves around paperwork. The infamous concept of dealing with endless “red tape” is a classic time-wasting trope for any workspace. The problem is, when you spend the day pushing papers, it can often make it difficult to get other things done.
Fortunately, electronic documentation has had a dramatic effect on how companies handle their paperwork. Countless records and forms that used to be hand-written and snail-mailed are now filled out via keyboard and emailed back and forth.
You can streamline this paperless aspect of the office even further by utilizing programs that remember your information and allow it to be auto-inserted to a form on command. There are also many software options available that can house documents in shared spaces. They can then automatically share live versions with anyone who needs to see them.
On top of that, you can eliminate the hassle of getting signatures through the use of e-signatures. E-signature software enables you to send, sign, and manage signatures at the click of a button. This takes the bulk of the leg work out of the age-old signature routine.
3. Reduce Email Efforts
Just to clarify, this isn’t saying communicate less. Communication is a key part of any successful enterprise. However, there are aspects of how you interact with others that can often be automated.
For instance, email is a common culprit when it comes to excessive time spent on a specific task. Employees in all fields of work tend to spend hours every day checking, reading, and responding to emails. If you add the creation of marketing emails to the list, it can become overwhelming.
One way to address the problem is to automate your customer-facing emails when possible. Many electronic communications between a business and customers consist of boilerplate conversations. While you want to be personal when it matters, you can use many common email platforms to automate things like:
- Promotional campaigns;
- Email sign-up forms;
- Email-based sales funnels;
- Abandoned cart emails.
By automating these kinds of messages, you can free up hours of your employees’ time to focus on other things.
4. Cut Down on Other Communication Activities
Along with email, you can also use chatbots on your company website to serve as a “first line of defense” against basic or easily answered customer inquiries. Of course, if a customer has a more sophisticated question, the bot can pass the conversation over to a human. However, any minor questions can be dealt with without the need to soak up employee time.
Social media management is another area worth automating. Even if you have to come up with your content, you don’t have to be on hand when it’s published. Many social media platforms have options built in to schedule posts ahead of time.
There are also social media management sites that allow you to schedule content for multiple platforms at the same time. If you’re juggling more than just social media content, there are even automation tools that integrate a plethora of different apps together. This allows you to set up and perform various automated tasks across multiple platforms at the same time.
5. Ease Customer Service Activities
Tending to the needs of your customers after the point of sale can be another time filler. You don’t want to lose that personal touch that completes a satisfactory customer journey by replacing human representatives with machines.
Nevertheless, there are ways to automate portions of your customer service activities without ruining the experience. CCaaS (contact center as a service) software can unify and automate a large portion of your customer service activities.
It can receive incoming calls, take callers through automated menus, and provide basic answers. If a question is too complex, a CCaaS system can direct customers to the rep that is best suited to handle their issue. All of this can cut out countless hours of employee time spent answering calls and going through initial interactions.
Automation is a big deal these days. But often its potential is reserved for larger problems and cutting-edge industries. And yet, the truth is, small and large businesses alike can automate countless mind-numbing activities throughout their daily grind.
Payroll, paperwork, signatures, emails, social media, and customer service are all time-consuming activities. Using software to automate them wherever possible is a great way to free up employers and employees alike, giving them more time to focus on the tasks that truly matter.