Automate BEFORE you scale
So you're looking to scale your revenue & customer numbers in the coming 12 months? The answer is almost definitely going to be yes 💸.
The real question is do you have the infrastructure in place to support this growth?
When talking to companies I find so often that people understand the benefits of automation, and often even talk of the need for it, but so few set time aside to implement these scalable, repeatable, reliable systems 📊. For instance...
Is your Customer Service system still done manually through email?
Manually replying to each customer enquiry by email 📩 now might seem like it doesn't take you so long, but typing out each reply does add up, especially when the replies are normally pretty much the same, answering commonly repeated questions. So templates can really help here.
As a case study, one of my clients was doing this, but I implemented a more automated system for them. This included:
A branded FAQs/Help Guide site to reduce enquiries & quickly resolve tickets
An automated website chatbot to direct customers to relevant team or Help Guide answer
A web chat function to quickly resolve customer issues in real time
Templated responses to FAQs to drop into support tickets or live chat
A share inbox to handle web chat, email or social media customer support tickets
Systems like this are vital when the number of queries starts to scale, and will save your team a lot of time 🕑 as well as improving your customers support experience 😁.
Do you manage customer data and relations in excel or Google Sheets?
Honestly, when I see a huge spreadsheet full of customer names, emails, contact times it makes me worry 😅. Not only does this way of managing customer relationships messy, it is also incredibly time consuming and it's severely lacking in the functionality you need to properly engage with your customers and prospects.
Having a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system that integrates and works with your product or service will:
Automatically populate new customers as they engage with your brand or buy from you
Automatically engage or on-board those customers
Allow you to report on customer trends in real time
Enable you to better manage your customers & push them along your sales pipeline
Choosing the right CRM is a difficult and important decision. You need to be acutely aware of what functionality you need, and whether the CRM has it, or can work in sync with another tool that can do that for you.
Automation goes way beyond just setting up Support Systems and CRM, but these are the absolute basics you need in terms of automation infrastructure.
If you start to scale without these systems in place you'll find you get into trouble pretty quickly. Retro-actively fitting these take more time as you have to completely design new processes around an already engrained system and large customer base. Moreover you will have to integrate tools that might not work very well together.
Every business is unique, and different systems work for different people, so it's worth spending a bit of time now to think about how the right tools, and clever automations, could help save you time and improve your customers' experience when they engage with you.