Consumer buying expectations have accelerated beyond anything we could have imagined just a few years ago. Two-day (even same day) shipping is the norm, online chat, multiple payment options, fast return processing, and so on. Customers expect the best experience end-to-end.
These demands can seem daunting but ignoring them puts your business at risk of being outmaneuvered by the competition. Finding ways to not just meet customer expectations but exceed them is crucial to setting any business apart. That solution must be sustainable and competitive and starts by shedding many of the manual processes that shackle businesses to time-consuming and inefficient tasks and workflows that stymie growth.
Here are three reasons why automating the way you capture information makes sense for growing your business:
1. Automation Enables Data-Driven Business Decisions
Each day your business makes decisions, some have little impact on your future, but others can change its direction dramatically. These decisions need to be informed based on evaluation of the data your business gathers, whether it’s financial, sales, marketing, or operations data. Without data you’re conducting your business blind and taking significant risk.
But data is often captured and stored in disparate ways. In paper forms, fillable PDFs, even emailed or scanned paperwork that can take hours to re-enter into your system of choice. This doesn’t just introduce the opportunity for human error, in the time it takes for staff to re-key the information and share it for review or analysis, the data becomes outdated.
But, by automating the way you capture information, data becomes readily available at the touch of a button giving you real-time visibility into the data you’re already collecting. Now you’re ready to make data-driven business decisions!
2. Automation Ensures an Exceptional Customer Experience
Receipts, work reports, questionnaires, warranties, user manuals, and so on make for a paper-intensive buying experience. Today’s consumers want their transactions to be as seamless and transparent as possible.
Picture this, you hire Big Steve’s HVAC Company to fix your air conditioning problem. After the work is finished, you’re handed a pile of paper in scribbled writing explaining the work completed, a marketing flyer, and an invoice. What if, instead, the company automatically emailed you a full summary of the work they completed with before and after pictures, a list of recommendations for upcoming maintenance, a customer satisfaction survey, and coupon attached?
This is just one example, but thinking about ways to make life easier for your customer is key to ensuring you exceed your customer’s expectations. By automating the way you collect information you can create exceptional experiences for each of your customers. For example, mobile automation applications, like GoCanvas, eliminate inefficient paper forms and processes. Once data is entered in the field – including location information, work reports, photos, signatures, and costs – customers are emailed the information immediately. Add on mobile payment functionality and you can quickly collect payment while making the transaction as seamless as possible for your customer.
3. Automation Helps You Keep Up with Dynamic Business Changes
Your business is constantly changing. New team members, new locations, even new products and services. Just as your business is dynamic, your internal processes must be as well.
Yet, many businesses still rely on tools such as spreadsheets or even paper to capture information – from job estimates, customer agreements, inventory lists, expenses, and more. This form of data capture makes it harder to keep up-to-date with the pace your company is changing. But automating the way you capture information by converting all your paper forms and processes to mobile applications, using GoCanvas, you can automate how work is done, replacing outdated process and expensive paperwork. As your business changes you can easily add new users or customize the applications to your changing business needs (such as adding new fields), all within minutes.
Automating your data collection process also eliminates headaches like forgotten or skipped fields, illegible handwriting, and lengthy turnaround times. As your business improves, so do your processes!
You can also share the data captured with others, passing mobile forms from one user to another for approvals and other processes, so more than one person can review or collect data at the same time. Data can also be stored in Box, Dropbox, Salesforce, you can even push your data into Excel or other data analytics platforms to gain real-time insight on all areas of your operations.
By automating the way you capture data you can use the time once wasted on labor-intensive processes to focus on creating strategic business decisions. Stay ahead of your customer's needs and provide the answers before the question arises. With features such as photo capture, hidden GPS pins, signature fields, reference data and more there are more ways than one that you can improve your current process!
Written by James Robins
Read more posts by James Robins