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How to make automation and process improvement a habit in your business

How to make automation and process improvement a habit in your business
March 3, 2021

Automation isn’t the insider secret it once was, and many businesses have started automating their workflows in one way or another. Only a small percentage, however, have made automation their modus operandi.

When the first thing you find yourself thinking is, “How can I automate this next task?”, you’ve opened yourself up to the next level of automation mastery: the automation habit. With each new trigger set, automation becomes more and more a part of how your business operates — and that, as they say, is where the magic happens.

7 ways to put automation planning on autopilot

Remember when you first learnt to ride a bike? Those first wobbly metres felt very unsettling. But as soon as you found your confidence and momentum, there was nothing that could get in your way.

It’s the same with automation. Here’s how to commit to on-going automation improvement in your business:

1. Have an automation cheerleader 🙋

An automation cheerleader is someone who can dedicate their time and energy to researching and implementing automation across your business. That includes internal and external uses for automation, in every team.

Without a cheerleader, your automation program risks becoming too siloed. One department may de-prioritise it over other, more immediate needs. Another may get off to a flying start, signing up to all the different automation platforms available, before letting it drop off the agenda.

Having an automation rep on your team ensures that each area of your business gets regular attention — both in planning automated workflows and creating them. It helps you stay up to date with the latest trends, and can help you resolve automation issues faster since you have an expert perspective on hand.

2. Seek out inspiration — often 🔎

Automation isn't something that most people ponder 24/7. And even those that do have no way of imagining everything that’s happening in the automation space at all times. For that, you need regular automation inspiration.

Inspiration can come from a variety of sources. Blogs and communities are a great place to start, as writers and automators are always looking to share their latest idea. Often, these are seeds of thought that you can shape into your own tool, too.

Sign up to regular automation newsletters as well (such as the one offered here at Luhhu). Newsletters provide a mix of updates and resources for you to start improving your automation strategy — and they drop right into your inbox, with minimal effort required!

3. Keep track of automation ideas as they appear 💡

Have you ever had an idea so great you swore you'd never forget it, only to forget it five minutes later? Yeah, so have we. That’s why it's so important to document your ideas for automation planning as soon as they appear.

Keep a notepad in your pocket, or use a note-taking/voice memo app on your smartphone. The aim is to capture your automation idea — and the problem you aim to solve with it.

Not only is this important for creating a list of automation ideas to fall back on, but it can also lead to more automation ideas down the road. As you write these ideas down, you'll keep your creativity going, and soon you'll have more ideas on paper than you have time to build.

4. Get feedback from your team on how automation is going 🎤

Start checking in with your team as soon as your automation strategy becomes more robust. Maybe this means holding a meeting once a month to discuss automation, or it could be as simple as sending out a survey.

Either way, you need to ascertain how effective your automation approach really is. Is it creating more problems than it solves? What do your employees like, what do they hate, and what hasn't made a difference?

This will not only guide your current automation solutions but influence your future ones, too.

5. Create a culture of "Why?" and throw "That's how we've always done things" out the window 🙅‍♂️

Some businesses treat questions like, "Why?" and, "What if...?" as if they were attacks on the company's values. But the truth is that there are almost no better questions to be asking.

When an employee wants to know why something is being done one way instead of another, it's a strong indicator that their ideas are worth listening to — maybe they’ve spotted an opportunity that’s passed you by.

So stop accepting the status quo and leave, "That's how we've always done things," out of your vocabulary. Otherwise, you and your team are going to have a hard time maximising the value of automation.

6. Track your automation metrics in meaningful ways 📈

If you're a higher-up or just your team's automation cheerleader, you no doubt want to make sure that your automation implementation is paying off. And to do that, you need to incorporate metrics into your automation.

It isn’t always obvious which metrics you should be tracking though. After all, you aren't always trying to save money or time when implementing automation (though these are often the goal).

To properly track the performance of your automation, you need to come up with meaningful metrics for each automation implementation. And to do that, you need to look at your goals for that automation. Is it because you think you can save time in that role, or reduce errors? Are you trying to cut costs, or improve customer retention? Or maybe Jeff in IT just wants to reduce his headaches — automation can help with that too!

Whatever your goal, come up with a way to quantify and track it. Make that your metric for success.

7. Find ways to automate your customers' pain points 🧑‍🤝‍🧑

Not all of your automation planning should be born from internal workflows. There are just as many ways to improve your service by automating your business on the client-facing end. Many of the biggest companies in the world succeed by automating their customers' needs.

A great way to determine what your customers need to be automated is to look at their pain points. Are there any aspects of your service that regularly get complaints (e.g. customers always struggle managing their subscriptions)? Is there an aspect of your product's ecosystem that causes frustration (e.g. the app/website home page contains broad brush updates, rather than personalised recommendations)?

Have a channel open for you to receive this kind of feedback. Mailing lists and surveys are a great start (you can automate both of these!). Once you start collecting and organising feedback, you and your automation cheerleader can prioritise the solutions with greatest potential for customer satisfaction.

Make automation planning a habit with the experts

It’s no exaggeration to say that automation has revolutionised modern business.

If you're ready to start your automation journey, but aren't sure how to take the first step, you can reach out to the pros at Luhhu. We offer services for four of the major automation platforms and can work with you to analyse your needs and create bespoke automation solutions.

Reach out to our team today.

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