The value of any successful business boils down to one thing: repeatable processes. That may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not: well-documented and established systems and processes are the very core of your business. They’re the intellectual property that makes your business successful, high-functioning, unique and ultimately sellable.

However, just because your business does things a certain way doesn’t mean that those processes are the best way. In fact, you may not realize that your current systems lack efficiency in getting from Point A to Point B. If you’re finding yourself swamped with manual tasks, struggling to find the right online tools or operating without a way to track business performance, you may need a new solution: business process automation.

Business process automation (BPA) replaces expensive, manual systems managed by employees with low-cost, high-volume systems managed by software. Pesky manual tasks will be handled by efficient automated systems, and you can rededicate your focus to tackling other demands of your business.

If any of the following six indicators strike a chord with the challenges you’re facing within your business, it’s a sign that you’re ready to automate your business processes.

1. Your team is constantly making manual errors

When your employees execute repetitive tasks day in and day out — such as updating customer files, sending out follow-up emails or managing spreadsheets — human error is inevitable and expected. But when you offload those mundane tasks by automating them, human error is virtually eliminated.

Daily, weekly or monthly tasks that are performed the same way each time can usually be automated, no matter how big or small. This might sound like you’re replacing your employees with automation robots, but that’s not the case. You’re actually givinging your employees time to work on projects that cannot and should not be automated, such as creative tasks, in-person communication and decision making.

2. You need more time and employees but don’t have the resources

As if growing pains weren’t already enough of a strain on any business, being maxed-out in your day-to-day operations can completely stunt growth. The instinct is to hire more people to leverage your own time, but that’s not always possible. Onboarding and retaining new employees is extremely expensive, and most small businesses just don’t have those resources to spare when they’re in grow-mode.

The alternative is to automate your most time-consuming day-to-day operations — sending emails, creating reports, updating client information and more. This also creates stability within your business so that crucial tasks are always executed properly, and your clients always receive a consistent experience.

3. You rely too heavily on one employee

A rockstar employee who takes the burden off of your shoulders is every employer’s dream, but dependence on a single employee creates a slippery slope. Let’s say that your employee completely handles all of your client appointment scheduling. What happens when that employee is out of office or even decides to leave your company? You could be left in a lurch if you don’t know how to perform this person’s job or don’t have the time to take it on.

BPA allows you to partially or fully automate the process of tasks like booking client appointments so that you can successfully delegate responsibilities. This eases your business’s dependency on a single employee and sets you on the right path to scale.

4. You’re still using paper files, messy spreadsheets and disjointed systems

Having your data spread out between different employees, spreadsheets and systems can be a nightmare when you’re on a call with a client, generating reports, or just trying to find a specific piece of information.

That’s precisely why automation software is so effective — all your business data is in one place. Your customer contact records are connected to your email marketing which is connected to your sales numbers so that there are never data gaps or missing customer information. This is especially a concern if you’re relying on multiple tools to store your data. If just one of those tools breaks, it can result in clients receiving the wrong email messages, being charged for the wrong products, or losing valuable information. With a business process automation tool, it’s much easier to streamline your business and make the entire customer journey smooth and seamless.

5. You want to improve customer satisfaction

Without some degree of business process automation, it doesn’t matter how hard you try — you can’t guarantee an amazing customer experience every time. Imagine running a bakery without a system for baking cakes. Every day the cakes would come out a little different. Some days they’d be great, but sometimes they might come out subpar. Customers who love your cake would return only to discover that the cake doesn’t taste the same. That’s not a sustainable way to run a business.

The same is true in every area of your business. If you follow up with a new lead differently every time, the experience you’re delivering is going to be hit and miss. Some clients may find you prompt and professional while others may feel you’re dropping the ball and can’t be trusted.

Automation allows you to offer consistency throughout every interaction a customer has with your brand.

6. You need more insight into your business

When you implement business process automation software, you’re setting the foundation to gain invaluable insight into your business. BPA allows you to measure and track every single touchpoint along the customer journey in one place, providing priceless data about your leads and customers. For example, you could find out how many customers who visit your landing page and call in to your sales team on the same day have purchased your product in the last year. Without an all-in-one system for tracking website visits, selling your products and storing information about each sales call, you’d have to look in three different places to compile this information, and you’d have to process all that data by hand to find what you’re looking for.

Business process automation software gives you an in-depth understanding of how your business is performing day to day and functions as a centralized hub for your business growth.

About Tatiana Doscher
Campaign Strategist Tatiana Doscher is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a dual B.A. in Communication and Global Studies. After working with several small and local businesses, Tatiana joined Ontraport’s Marketing team. She loves running, hiking and enjoying Santa Barbara’s beautiful beaches.