Automation may be a great way to streamline your team’s workflow, but there are some things you simply can’t automate — things that require a person’s involvement. In fact, most often, you need both automation and manual interaction to complete a workflow.

“Tasks” are what allow you to marry the two.

In Ontraport and many automation platforms, tasks are built into automated workflows to essentially serve as reminders to your team to perform something manually at the appropriate time. When the team member completes the task, he or she can mark its outcome to instigate completion of the rest of the automated campaign.

Check out these creative ways some of our clients integrate tasks with their automated internal business processes to keep their workflows running smoothly.

1. Manual Application Review

HR and recruiting team members often have various tasks associated with reviewing job applications. Rather than having to constantly check an application queue, the team members can receive automated email notifications to review an application every time a potential hire submits one. Simply add a task as a step in your application campaign to email the HR team members of your choice. This helps ensure each applicant is receiving a consistent experience and that none of them fall through the cracks.

Tasks for manual application review aren’t just limited to recruiting. Say you created an event page and application form for a contest you’re hosting. Just add a similar task to your application campaign, and you’ll receive a notification every time you get a new entrant.

2. Payroll

Tasks involving sensitive information such as bank accounts and money transactions can both benefit from and be hindered by automation. While automation means consistency and reduced error, it also runs without questioning its processes — which might not be best when it comes to sensitive matters like payroll and bill paying. Experts often advise that if automated, these processes should still be looked over by a human eye when possible.

Tasks can be helpful in several ways when it comes to the checks and balances of these processes. For example, an employee could request that his or her payroll be checked over for possible errors by triggering a task to be sent to the payroll manager to check the calculations manually. A task might also be triggered by the payroll automation system so that an employee can look over it for errors.

3. Text Message Response

More than almost any other marketing medium, SMS (text messages) fosters the most immediate customer engagement. Think about it: Most people have their phones on them all day, every day — and the average cell phone user looks at his or her phone 150 times a day. That type of mobile addiction is why 95% of SMS messages are read within three minutes of receipt.

Integrating SMS into your marketing campaign will boost your ROI and engagement; however, many businesses neglect the responses that they receive via SMS. A simple reply or follow-up text from you could be the difference between your customers using your offer or ignoring it.

4. Send a Personalized Gift

Sending a special gift to your clients could be the crowning jewel in their overall customer experience. Whether you’re closing a deal with a new customer, celebrating a client’s anniversary, or enticing a prospect, a personalized gift is a great way to stay top-of-mind.

Delegating the task of physically purchasing or sending the gift is easy using tasks. As soon as a lead or client reaches a designated step in a campaign, you can create a task that automatically fires an email to your assistant with instructions and guidelines for exactly how to locate and send a gift. Your assistant can then mark the task complete using task outcomes.

5. Follow Up With Independent Contractors

One unique aspect of Ontraport tasks is that recipients don’t have to have a seat within your account to receive task notifications. Do you have a photographer who provides all the imagery for your blog or a contracted copywriter who writes all your landing pages? Send them task notifications directly to their personal email anytime you need their services. If your contractors have recurring work such as weekly blog content or landing page updates, tasks can be set to send out weekly or daily.

6. Physical Filing

Many companies are going digital with everything from video meetings to digital files, but there are still many industries utilizing the security of hard, physical copies that can’t be hacked or accidently deleted. Medical offices, Police Departments and voting establishments, for example, often still rely on printed documented and physical files.

While the act of filing can’t be automated, automated tasks can be triggered by patient requests, specific dates or post-appointment actions, reminding receptionists and front desk workers to print and file an important document. Like fully automated processes, these automated tasks help reduce human error and improve reliability.

7. Specific or One-off Emails

Hopefully your company is using an email automation tool to send your mass emails, but when an email needs to be sent with specific information, it’s usually left as a manual task for an employee. Certain triggers can be created for these types of emails. For example, when a lead fills out a form or someone requests your presskit, a task can be sent for the appropriate employee to promptly respond. They can then mark the task as completed to be sure no requests go unanswered.

8. Write a Thank You Note

It’s rare to receive a handwritten letter these days, so sending them to customers and leads really makes your business stand out. In fact, a recent study by the US Postal Service suggests that snail mail makes Millennials feel special — enter a new strategy for marketing to the younger generations.

If your team writes your thank you notes in-office, you can send a task to prompt them to write one when a new customer signs on, for customer birthdays and more. If writing handwritten letters isn’t feasible for your team, though, you can use the Ontraport integration with MailLift, a handwritten letter service that lets you automatically send personalized letters to your contacts.

9. Find Prospects on Social Media

A quick Google search on every new client who enters your system could be a goldmine of customer data. Perhaps the client has a large YouTube following that could lead to a great collaboration video, or their Instagram followers are your exact target audience. They could be great referrers for you.

Instead of spending hours online stalking your customers after they purchase, create a task that automatically sends a team member a notification to research a prospect as soon as the prospect fills out your opt-in form. This can be a great job for interns who are just learning your target demographic. You can then use that new information to send targeted messaging to specific leads.

About Aslan Williams
Aslan Williams grew up in a small, southern town, tailgating at football games and watching sunsets over the Mississippi Delta. Since leaving her southern roots four years ago, she has lived in five countries, practicing yoga, teaching English and honing her marketing skills at various International internships. Now, as a recent graduate from UCSB, Aslan is applying her degrees in Communication and English in her role as Content Engagement Coordinator at Ontraport.