Think—when was the last time you set up your out-of-office email reply? The last time you traveled to a new place using your phone’s GPS? And the last time you checked in online for a flight? Automation saves us time, reduces stress, and makes us more efficient every day. And it can do the same and more in your business. It can even help you increase customer confidence in the face of economic uncertainty.
As we navigate the next wave of economic uncertainty, we’ll explore how workplace automation can help you reinforce your customers’ confidence in your business—even amid inflation fears, cutbacks, and essentials-only spending.
Automate to prioritize customer care
From streamlining your accounting processes to automating your workflows, automation can be applied throughout your business.
But how can it help you combat low customer confidence when recession fears and the continuing impacts of inflation equate to your customers delaying their spending, focusing on necessity-only purchases, and canceling all non-essentials?
Forbes Technology Council member, Chet Kapoor, suggests an effective response to assuage the challenges of economic uncertainty is to “Obsess over customers” (Economic Uncertainty Is A Gift: How To Emerge Stronger).
He writes, “During economic downturns, it’s easy to act out of fear or go into self-preservation mode, worrying only about what’s best from an inside-out point of view. But losing sight of your customers is a huge mistake.”
Automate to reconnect with existing customers
At a time when many people are concerned about increased prices and the availability of some products and services, simply getting in touch with your existing customer base and re-engaging them in what you offer can be a reassuring reminder that you’re still there and you and your team are on hand to help.
Scheduling relevant and helpful posts on your social channels and sharing useful information across each platform can also help to nurture your customers’ brand loyalty—and keep your business front of mind.
Automate to personalize
When money’s tight, customers seek buying experiences that add value. By automating your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and personalizing your customer experience, you can tap into data and predict your customers’ needs, tailor your communications, and offer relevant recommendations that make them feel seen and heard.
Automate to understand your market
When customer confidence is low, their wants and needs change as they seek to prioritize cost savings, quality, and efficiency. You can adopt a market-orientation mindset and take the time to find out more. Survey your customers to ask if and how you can help deliver these benefits.
This simple, automated contact can reassure customers that you’ve got their backs and help you identify sales and promotions that can help solve the urgent and real problems that align with their business outcomes.
Automate to add value
When customers are cutting back, they want to be sure they’re getting the biggest bang for their buck. This means adding value to what you offer, wherever and however you can. This is especially true if the products and services you offer are affected by rising costs, supply chain issues, and labor shortages.
To increase your resiliency and efficiency, automation can help you counter rising labor and materials costs, create efficiencies, and boost productivity.
Process intelligence tools give you the visibility to continuously optimize your automated processes and make data-driven decisions—saving money and freeing you further to focus on your customers’ wants and needs.
Automate to improve the employee experience
Let’s move inside your business and look at the people and processes your customers interact with every day.
Automation can take on many of the time-consuming and repetitive tasks your company needs to keep everything working smoothly. Things like data entry, document organization, and lead management. It can also reduce human error, saving you money and making it easier for your employees to access the information they need to provide your customers with a better, faster service.
With manual work and process tasks taken care of more quickly and efficiently, you can free up your team to focus on what matters most—closing more deals and doubling down on your customer experience.
Automate to engage your people
Making the most of every team member’s time is not only good for your business, but it’s also good for the people inside it. Automating workflows and processes frees your employees to focus on the more creative and stimulating aspects of their roles.
This leads to greater job satisfaction, reduces stress and the risk of burnout, creates higher levels of engagement—all of which results in a more productive workplace.
“If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”— Sir Richard Branson
And while you may need to put any plans to hire more staff on hold, you can keep up with the competition and even continue to grow your business by automating workflows, streamlining your business operations, automating to fill any gaps in your staffing.
Many of your customers will be feeling the impact of economic uncertainty and instability—just as you are. In simple terms, by taking over certain time-consuming and repetitive tasks, automation allows you to maximize revenue and free up time within your business to focus on your customers—nurturing their loyalty and increasing overall levels of satisfaction with the products and services you provide.
Automate to prepare for opportunity
And it can be helpful to remember that uncertain economic times often present new opportunities. It’s not all doom and gloom, as Kapoor reminds us:
“3 things usually happen during economic downturns or recessions. New companies are created, like Uber, Airbnb, and Slack. Many businesses fail. And some companies—the best ones—actually emerge stronger than before.”Chet Kapoor, Economic Uncertainty Is A Gift: How To Emerge Stronger
When you remain market-orientated, keep your finger on the pulse of your business, and “obsess over your customers”, you can listen and learn how to deliver added value today and tomorrow. You will future proof your business to meet your customers’ ongoing and evolving needs and emerge with an even greater capacity and resilience for what lies ahead.
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