When the holiday season approaches, businesses scramble to process all their customer requests, complete inventory, develop marketing campaigns for the following year, and more. But what if there was a way to perform these tasks automatically? With task automation, your business can continue to run as usual even as demand increases.
If you first want to see how RPA—a type of task automation—can benefit your business, check out Impact's infographic, 8 Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
What is Task Automation?
Task automation is using software to reduce the use of manual work when completing simple, repetitive tasks. For example, if your business requires an employee to scan hundreds of invoices and then input the data from each one into a spreadsheet, this task can easily be automated with software.
The goal of task automation is not to make your staff redundant, but rather to help them be more efficient and to free up their time so they can focus on more creative or complex tasks.
One form of business task automation is robotic process automation (RPA). With RPA, you can define a set of rules or instructions to complete a process and software bots will follow the steps just like a human employee would. See below an animated explainer video on RPA:
Where to Use Task Automation
Task automation can be used in various ways in a business setting. Think of any repetitive task such as invoice processing, inputting data, handling orders, extracting data from documents, and more!
These uses come to the forefront during the holidays, when employees might enjoy a vacation, orders might increase, and customers may need more support than usual. Read on to see different ways it can fill in for your employees this holiday season.
1. Customer Service
There is an increase in customer support requests by 5-10 times as you inch closer to the holiday season. – Forbes
The holidays are a hectic time for businesses, but this doesn’t mean that the quality of your customer service should suffer. With task automation you can create a ticket assignment process so that a customer can reach the professional they need faster than they would if they started out by speaking to a representative.
You can use RPA to assign a ticket to available staff or to an employee with the least workload. Task assignments can even be sorted by the specialization of your staff.
Another example is online chatbots. Frequently asked questions can be answered by chatbots programmed with the topics your customers most often need help with. Since they can easily be deployed on your website, customers will experience zero wait time.
Using chatbots can help businesses save up to 30% of their customer service budget. Chatbots are especially beneficial if you wish to market your brand to a younger audience. Millennials and Gen Z expect businesses to provide customer support 24/7 and prefer messaging to phone calls. Both pain-points can be easily solved with the use of RPA.
Related Blog: 7 Uses of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for SMBs
2. Inventory Management
If your staff handles inventory, RPA can revolutionize the way in which it is handled, whether your business manages smaller inventories or large warehouses.
Using programmable logic in your inventory system, you can use software bots to automate tracking and delivery, as well as stock replenishment. This way neither you nor your customers will be affected by delays in the delivery process.
Since bots do not get tired or forget to check an item, there will be no human error when processing any inventory requests.
Task automation can enhance your marketing strategy too. From lead nurturing to automatically scheduling social media posts, RPA can accomplish several marketing tasks to help you during the holidays.
Benefit from task automation in the following areas:
- Lead nurturing: Send automated messages, emails, or reminders to your leads with communications tailored to where they are in the customer journey.
- Segmentation and analysis: Analyze data and segment your audience into groups to deliver more targeted campaigns.
- Social media: Schedule posts to appear at the optimal time as determined by the automation software. Assess the performance of each post with data visualizations.
- Omnichannel marketing: Join all your channels into the same workflow to send automated alerts, push notifications, email, etc.
4. Invoice Processing
Invoice processing can be a time-consuming task at any time of year, especially during the holidays. Invoices can come in different formats, as part of an email, or can be difficult to track. Task automation helps remove these issues.
RPA bots can be used to automatically scan email and physical invoices into a folder within a database. When the invoice reaches a folder, the bots are alerted and instantly read the invoice, extract the relevant information, and circulate it to a pre-determined destination.
Bots can also index invoices and highlight the correct information. Since the holidays are often the time of year when business accountants and accounts payable departments are looking to resolve all open invoices, this is one of the best uses of task automation.
This new technology cuts the time to process certain payments in half. It removes that extra workload. –Jessica McClain, Accounts Payable Lead, Impact
Related Blog: 5 Best Accounts Payable (AP) Automation Software
5. Behavior Analysis
What if software bots could help you guide your customer to the next appropriate step for them in their customer journey? RPA can help with that too.
With RPA you can gather data from each of your marketing campaigns, which allows you to continuously improve upon each campaign iteration.
You can track how leads, new customers, and returning customers interact with your website and ads. With this data, you can segment visitors, as mentioned above, and design a campaign that takes into account their interests and past behaviors.
You can then send them similar content, remind them of events they might be interested in, or notify them when a product they interacted with might be running low on stock.
If your business needs some help during the holidays, task automation can help your staff complete the myriad of tasks that come up at this time of year.
It’s important to consider consulting an expert in automation when implementing it to make the most out of the solution. RPA requires identifying which tasks can be automated, defining their process, and prioritizing each one so that the solution serves your business best.
The benefits of RPA for businesses are endless. To learn more about automation and how it can help your organization during the holidays and year-round, check out the infographic 8 Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA).