Whether it's marketing, customer service, client onboarding, accounting, staff training, or something else, systemizing your operations is a big step, which can transform the way you work. If you have ever wanted to streamline operations while minimizing errors, then you're in the right place.
What is systemizing?
In any business, systemizing processes and procedures ensure staff and customer service representatives can complete tasks to the highest degree of efficiency. Often systemized businesses run day-to-day with a far higher degree of accuracy, and it shows. You'll find your staff is far less stressed, as there's nothing overcomplicated. Best of all, everyone can learn a task reasonably quickly. There will be a standard operating procedure (SOP) for just about everything.
Whether you systemize entirely or add systems for your most critical tasks, there will always be a noticeable benefit. There is also a good chance you'll be able to scale up your operations without much outside help. Simply hiring internally and setting people off with your procedures (with a little helping hand in the beginning) will make a systemized business run like clockwork. When systemizing, focus on whether you want to delegate a task to humans or automation tools like software or outside services; there are many decisions.
Why is automation so important?
Regardless of your team's size, the amount of profit you're making, or your role in the business, there's always room to automate procedures. By the end of 2022, we could be seeing 42% of task hours being completed by machines instead of humans, an increase of nearly 45% on levels seen in 2018/19 (pre-pandemic). As companies harness more emerging and sophisticated technologies, automation tasks will most likely only rise further.
Automated procedures can run 24/7, meaning you can expand your reach to customers and clients in multiple countries with good customer service. Not only that, but it's going to cost you less per customer if processes like onboarding, invoicing, triggered emails, etc., are automated.
What can you systemize?
Just about anything, really! Any task that already requires human input, or more specifically, your input, should be a priority for systemizing. First of all, it's best to look at what tasks you already involve yourself in as a company's owner, manager, or CEO. Do you have to carry out monotonous tasks every day that require next to no skill but lots of repetition? Whatever it may be: billing, social media posts, sending emails, building quotes, etc. - If it can be delegated, outsourced or automated, it is far better for you to do so.
Whether it's nurturing existing clients or taking on new ones, a systemized lead generation strategy will always be better than trying to play it by ear. First, start by writing down a step-by-step list of how you generally turn prospects into leads. Is it a pop-up on your website? Maybe it's your opt-in form to join your mailing list at the bottom of your blog section. Wherever it may appear, you want to automate all of the steps after that.
Investing in an automated email sending tool like the one we have here at Helpmonks can be a great alternative to sending out individual emails manually. Instead, emails are sent out automatically based on your customers' actions, triggers, or timers. With this change of approach, you can focus on improving the business itself, and not just the processes you have to repeat for the company every day. Automated marketing contacts can be implemented in different stages, nurture leads, and hopefully convert them into customers.
A marketing automation tool enables you to send personalized emails to each of your contacts. Customers feel like you are talking to them directly. Talking to your customers in a personal style is also one of the highest customer service skills. It is a proven way to increase the bottom line of any business.
Four in five businesses have reported an increase in leads by automating their usual marketing/sales funnel. Not only that, but the same report states that the number of leads generated from automated campaigns grew by an average of 451% compared to manually executed emails/social media posts, etc.
Now to keep your lead generation process systemized, it's essential to qualify leads properly, so you don't grow your audience in the wrong direction. First, start by identifying your target market. Do you need to offer qualifying questions in your opt-in forms/inbound marketing channels? If so, implement them, and build helpful content that can be sent straight out to them either through email or however you can contact them. Let's move on to systemizing your content strategy.
Systemizing your content (blogs, social media posts)
There are two main ways editors' can systemize content. You can split it into smaller specific posts or maintain a consistent posting schedule where you already know what will go out each day or week. Before we start, any content system has to put the target audience first. Suppose your content isn't there yet, or you haven't yet grasped what sort of content to fire out. In that case, it is a good idea to do some research first, so you're not uploading and distributing content that targets anything but your niche.
Once you know your audience, see what kind of stuff your competition is posting in your niche and not copy it. Put your spin on the posts you send on, and try to keep the number of channels to a minimum. Trying to manage 7-8 social media channels is very hard if the scale and sales growth are your priority. Stick to the ones you know your audience is using day-to-day.
To create a systemized posting schedule, draft up one version of your post for the social media channel you use the most, then delegate the content to your marketing team or VA to tweak it as necessary for all other social media channels. It's essential to have a system in place to stop posts from being batched and blasted. Posts may do well on LinkedIn if they're formal and upfront. Still, they may not fare well on Facebook, where your audience is used to more casual posts (like the rest of their news feed). In terms of distributing your amended content, you can automate this as well. Tools like SocialPilot can be great for posting in bulk and getting real insights into the engagement for posts across all of your active social media platforms in one place.
The same principle applies to blogs. Iron out your niche and create an in-depth guide about your target market's products, issues, and solutions. Once this is done, you can create a system whereby you extract little sections of your guides and condense them into shorter blog posts, which will be the main drivers for your SEO ranking. Blog posting should be seen as a loop to get leads in. Focus on the small posts, and implement a CTA (call to action) at the end of every post, so you can redirect prospects if they are interested in more content from you.
Having a system for dealing with queries, faults, pain points, errors, payments, and all other interaction points with your customers can improve your credibility as a company.
First of all, customer service often means that different queries will need to be dealt with by other people in your team (depending on your size). You want to ensure your systems cover what kind of issues can be resolved by your team.
As the first point of contact, you ideally want to funnel it all down to one place. Let's say you operate online through a website and store - in this scenario, is there any need to have a phone number displayed for all of your customer's queries? Probably not. At this stage, you want to implement an automated chatbot that can categorize questions into different categories and hopefully direct customers to obtain the tips and information they require.
The aim is to minimize your team's time spent on customer calls, solve simple issues, and ask obvious questions. If a query requires human input, have a redirect option to a contact page or connect them directly to a live chat agent.
The key to any systemized customer service setup is to minimize the time it takes to solve queries. Of course, this approach has to be balanced with maintaining customer satisfaction. If you find customers are expressing their concerns about a lack of human support, this needs addressing. Try to tweak your support tools so your systems get customers in front of your team more often when it's necessary.
Another excellent customer service tool is a well-written knowledge base for your products and services. More often, you will find that your customers are willing to go the extra mile and are also quite capable of helping themselves.
A final point
Systemization isn't about instant perfection or quickly scaling up. It's about what works comfortably for your business to improve productivity, customer happiness and minimize costs. Start slow if you aren't used to working with business processes or management systems, and scale up implementing more automated measures. Every new management software will always have room for improvement.
Nevertheless, the quicker you start, the more you'll realize that processes and operations can be made cheaper and more manageable. Whether it be lead generation, customer service, or help desk content, every system has a place in your business at some point, so why not get started?