How to Succeed with Office Automation
What’s the most important part of your business? (Hint: It’s not your products or services.) Customers are the most important part of any business. Without customers, you don’t have a business! Success depends first and foremost on how well you serve your customers. Next in line are the quality of the product or service you offer and how you differentiate yourself from the competitors.
Did you know that office automation can be a key factor when it comes to improving customer service and retention? Additionally, office automation empowers your employees to carry out their duties in an efficient, fulfilling manner, thus avoiding dissatisfaction at the most important junctures.
What is Office Automation?
Quite simply, office automation refers to the automation of repetitive rules-based tasks and business processes necessary to the daily functioning of the company. These include tasks such as:
- data extraction
- invoice processing
- report compiling
- hiring processes
- facility management
- customer support
- sales support
- accounting procedures
- and others…
Office automation encourages employees to spend less time on routine tasks and more time on activities that advance your core business and help your business grow. Office automation reduces human error, provides information transparency, speeds the execution of customer-facing processes and makes it easier to work toward the growth of your business and to avoid the confusion and inefficiencies that could otherwise have a negative impact on customer experience and internal processes.
Front Office or Back Office Automation?
While automation is applicable in both areas, we think starting with the back office makes sense. Let’s look at why…
The front office deals with customer-facing activities. These front office activities are important, and they frequently rely on back-office activities for completion. In this way, the back-office acts as the foundation for many, if not most customer-facing activities -- from shipping and invoicing to maintenance of customer data. When shifting from manual procedures to automated procedures a strong back office foundation will help to support a customer-centric front office operation. The result will be a seamless front to back office operation that promotes customer satisfaction and employee engagement every step of the way.
Making the Change from Manual to Automated
One of the first issues a company is likely to face when they begin to transform from manual processes to automated processes is fear. Yes, you read that right. Your employees may fear the change. Unfortunately, discussions of automation technologies frequently create unease in those who think these technologies will result in job loss. However, when it comes to office automation, this simply is not the case. Office automation most often results in reducing the time and effort associated with repetitive tasks and this enables employees to do more satisfying activities with better efficiency. Also, you may find that, as organizational efficiency increases through automation, your company will not need to add new hires even as the company grows. This is one of the ways that office automation saves business owners money.
Advantages of Office Automation
Office automation has the potential to improve the quality, efficiency and flexibility of work dramatically, while reducing the potential for human error and associated costs. It can improve customer service and retention. Automation contributes to employee satisfaction and reduces employee turn-over.
According to McKinsey Digital:
Across all occupations in the US economy, one-third of the time spent in the workplace involves collecting and processing data. Both activities have a technical potential for automation exceeding 60 percent. Long ago, many companies automated activities such as administering procurement, processing payrolls, calculating material-resource needs, generating invoices, and using bar codes to track flows of materials. But as technology progresses, computers are helping to increase the scale and quality of these activities. For example, a number of companies now offer solutions that automate entering paper and PDF invoices into computer systems or even processing loan applications. And it’s not just entry-level workers or low-wage clerks who collect and process data; people whose annual incomes exceed $200,000 spend some 31 percent of their time doing those things, as well.
With statistics like these, it's easy to understand the potential that office automation offers to businesses of all sizes, in all kinds of industries.