Table of contents
Streamlining business operations using automated tools helps you operate more efficiently and is rapidly becoming table stakes. Between ongoing labor shortages and the rising cost of running a growing organization, businesses face plenty of obstacles. Any organization determined to thrive in these conditions must be ready to evolve and adapt.
Fortunately, evolving through the adoption of automated tools is as easy as ever. Today’s marketplace offers many options for nimble organizations to improve efficiency, customer experience, and employee satisfaction by implementing straightforward, cost-effective tools.
And customers, it turns out, want businesses to take advantage of automation technology. According to the Square 2023 Future of Commerce Report, 73% of consumers said they’d prefer automation over live staff members in at least one area of a business.
Here are four simple ways your business can take advantage of automation to save time, money, and resources in areas that have a ripple effect on business success.
Keeping track of times, dates, appointments, and details is a surprisingly difficult task for humans to do consistently without errors. Automated tools can manage information like this almost effortlessly and with outstanding precision. As a result, manual methods of scheduling and coordinating timing are all but extinct in large organizations.
Scheduling is one of the simplest and most widespread uses of workplace automation for several reasons:
- The technology has been around for many years and is well-proven to be effective.
- Many scheduling tools are low-cost and easy to use.
- Effective tracking provides clarity, reduces miscommunication, and improves overall efficiency.
- Digital tools sharply reduce human errors like forgetting important appointments, due dates, or compliance deadlines.
Simple tools like calendars and task trackers have been in use for decades. Still, the possibilities continue to evolve with new functionality and improved ease of use. Modern scheduling tools, such as Square Shifts, offer teams of all sizes the ability to share, track, distribute, and discuss information in countless forms and formats to accommodate an ever-growing number of unique business needs.
2. Inventory Management
An inventory pipeline that runs smoothly can often go largely unnoticed. On the other hand, inventory gaps or mismanagement can bring chaos, resulting in:
- Service interruptions or unplanned closures
- Poor customer experience and loss of business
- Employee frustration, tension, and burnout
Customer-facing businesses like retail stores and restaurants cannot afford to play games with something as critical to their success as inventory management.
Managing inventory affects every aspect of the business: Employees need the proper equipment and materials to do their jobs; customers don’t want to wait for out-of-stock items; management and investors want to see supply consistently matching demand. Inventory automation can help you keep all of these stakeholders happy without significant drain on your human resources.
You can leverage automated inventory management to stay on top of your inventory, maximize service availability, save time, stay ahead of product shortages, and save money by avoiding last-minute rush fulfillment of inventory gaps.
Payroll is another area of your business that can be time-consuming for a person to manage, but quick and easy for software to do automatically.
From tracking hours and calculating withholdings to preparing and distributing employee paychecks, managing your payroll manually is time-consuming and creates opportunities for errors.
Automated tools, such as Square Payroll, significantly reduce the burden of this essential business function. Better yet, it ensures every employee is paid accurately and on time, and that all relevant information is stored securely for bookkeeping and accounting purposes.
4. Marketing and Communications
Building a relationship with your existing customers and attracting new ones is vital. And your customers want to hear from you, too. A full 86% of consumers surveyed stated that they want to communicate with the businesses that they frequent, according to Square’s 2023 Future of Commerce Report.There’s no substitute for exceptional customer service and a human touch, but there are many ways automation can handle some of the heavy lifting of engaging with your audience. Doing so can free up your team to be present with customers when they are needed most.
Square Marketing provides several tools to keep your business at the front of customers’ minds. For instance, automated email and text campaigns help to inform and engage customers through appointment and reservation reminders, seasonal notifications, and even birthday well-wishes. Automated marketing tools bridge the gap between time-consuming tasks and quality time with customers so your people can get back to the work they do best.
Stepping Into Smooth, Painless Automation
Digital transformation can be daunting. The important thing to focus on is that the technology you’re choosing, and by extension, the partner you work with, brings improved user experience, ease of use, and efficiency. Automation in the workplace is no longer the exclusive domain of tech companies and giant corporations. It’s here for everyone, and the barrier to entry has never been lower.