There is no excuse not to use automation in your day-to-day operations. The tools now readily available to all businesses can help you make more money, faster, with fewer resources deployed. Not only can people, time and headspace be freed up, but your customers can have a better experience. Once intense processes can now take place without your involvement as the business owner.
Paul Vigario is the CEO and founder of SurfCT, a dental and healthcare technology integration company that works with practices to help them stay ahead of the curve using automation. Vigario helps practices integrate technology into every aspect of their business, and his team discovers problems they can solve and bottlenecks they can remove in their clients’ operations. With fifteen years of experience in dentistry and health technology and having given keynote addresses on the topic at various universities, Vigario believes that any business can make better use of automation, and he has supported businesses to access its benefits.
According to Vigario, automation can “streamline operations and simplify tasks that can typically be time-consuming and counterproductive.” Here are three simple automations every business should have in place.
1. Automatic onboarding
Ideally, customers can make their purchases and onboard themselves with your business without speaking to a human. Your automations should gather all the important information and your customer should be able to complete their details at their own pace, from the comfort of their own home. This avoids the need to hire teams of sales and customer service staff, as well as many admin and support roles.
Vigario’s industry is behind the curve, but so are many others. “Although almost all dental clinics use electronic medical records, many still require physical forms to complete the intake process.” If forms are required to bring your customers, make sure they can be completed “from a customer’s personal computer or smartphone.” Reducing the time customers spend at a physical desk or on the phone to a sales or support person means more customers can be onboarded faster.
Automated forms and email workflows, automatic payments by integrating Stripe, electronic signature collection and identity checks are expected by customers. Most people will follow instructions without question because it is in their best interest. What’s missing in your onboarding process?
2. A customer portal
If you have ongoing relationships with your customers, they should be able to log in and see their information. Whether it’s details about their reports or next meetings, invoices they’ve paid, delivery information or space to complete additional details, a customer portal of any kind will free up your team for other tasks.
Vigario works with customers to create customer portals, which “give their customers a sense of independence” and mean they can “immediately access their data.”
Not only must the portal safely store the customer’s information, it must be a source of information. “A comprehensive portal should include walkthrough videos, how-to documents, and answers to frequently asked questions.” Customers should also be able to buy more or book an appointment, if that suits your business. “Each customer login represents a reduction in the time you spend answering emails or talking on the phone.”
3. Computer-generated marketing tools
For Vigario’s dental customers, marketing ensures that they get new patients and keep in touch with existing ones. He recommends that companies incorporate automation into their marketing to ensure it is systemized and consistent rather than last-minute and disorganized.
“Get the basics right first by planning your social media posts and promotional emails from a social media planning tool and CRM system.” Then you can become good. Artificially intelligent article generators, image creators and ad copy systems can boost your content creation without hiring a team of freelancers.
Most industries can access online “libraries of pre-made content”, providing inspiration and updates to audiences at the click of a button. Vigario uses these for its dental clients. He advised, “Empower a high-level marketing professional in using these tools and give them a budget for the software that will make their role more effective.” Resourceful and connected marketers know how to make marketing automation work.
Automating these three simple processes means your team “can focus on more pressing tasks that require a higher level of attention.” If a machine can do it, then delegate, and enjoy the “high levels of productivity, profitability and efficiency” this brings.