Vacation or mobile work means a deserved break from the office, but can also lead to annoying calls and messages during inconvenient times. The reason why these calls occur is that preventative measures and systems are not established to deal with them ahead of time. In addition, your team may not be supplied with resources in order to deal with problems on their own, instead of contacting you. With these considerations, here are several ways to automate your business operations without being in the office or while on vacation.
Create Effective Automated Email Campaigns
Many businesses are built on a system of staying engaged with their customers. The email marketing system is one of the most valuable systems to use in this endeavor. There are many apps that can help you automate these functions without having to manually input keystrokes in the office. Your email marketing system can only be as complex as your business goals. Instead of simply scheduling a message over a vacation or out-of-office period, think about your entire quarterly calendar and schedule messages for periods far out in advance. If you typically run promotions or send massive email blasts during holidays, then plan your schedule out to have automated messages set up for those times. Apps such as Mailchimp and Marketo work great in helping you set up scheduled messages that can also be personalized for customers.
Create a Social Media Content Schedule
Social media activity does not have to be paused just because you are on a trip or visiting a client in another area. There are ways to enable your audience to stay engaged with your business. Create a calendar to have relevant social media topics posted and delivered to a targeted audience on a weekly, daily, or quarterly basis. Most platforms provide either internal or third-party options to schedule your posts and content in advance. You can use third-party apps to streamline your communication channels and simultaneously deliver content through multiple platforms. Facebook in particular, has a system known as response assistant, which allows you to create an automatic reply to any direct message that your business page receives. The response assistant program can be used extensively to help keep your page active when you are not physically in the office or available to write responses yourself.
Utilize the Cloud
Excellent customer service occurs when you have access to prompt data. With cloud technology, you can ensure that you stay connected to business data, documents, and account information, no matter where you are. You can adopt helpdesk software that provides customer self-service portals and dashboards for your business. Customers can use these systems to find information, resources, and answers to any issues they are experiencing. For customers who still need to contact a live representative, you can set up a ticketing system that gets sent to one of your onsite team members. Your team members can respond to these tickets after viewing the details of the problem in advance. This communication approach can help your team assist customers in a more prepared and responsive manner.
Create Automated Invoices
One of the most important functions of a business is to collect payments and generate revenue. Your invoicing system is a function that cannot be left inactive when you are out on vacation or on an off-site business trip. Cloud-based accounting software can also help you automate invoicing processes and cover for emergency cases. These systems often have their own support teams so if there are problems with payments or invoices, your customers can be directed to those teams to address their concerns. These types of software can also provide you with a login and dashboard to allow you to review your finances and make sure there are no inconsistencies.
Schedule Blog Content
Another way in which audience engagement is facilitated is through blog posts. If you regularly promote your business and connect with customers through blogs, then your absence may affect the frequency and delivery of valuable blog content to your audience. Instead of working with your team while on vacation to create blog content, you can develop a cache of blogs to schedule ahead of time. You can delegate one day to writing blog posts intended to be published months out in advance. Through this method, you can ensure a steady stream of content that can be shared and promoted to your customers.
Automate Lead Capture Processes
There are very few times, if any, in which getting leads can be ignored. Your business growth depends on how well you follow-up with leads and convert them into revenue. This concern means that ignoring or not responding to potential leads and inquiries can hurt your business in the long-term. To prevent this, set up an automatic response or follow-up system that will connect your leads to the next step of your on-boarding process. The more you automate your lead follow-up and on-boarding system, the better your sales processes can be maintained and help profits continue to flow.
The value of automation is that if successfully implemented, it can be a major benefit to your business during periods in which you are not present at the desk. There may be times where you have to leave the desk due to an emergency or to visit clients in another area. In these cases, setting up automation can save a lot of trouble ahead of time. Be sure to adopt these aforementioned principles and techniques into your business structure. By outlining these systems and planning them accordingly with your team, you can go on vacations or business trips with peace of mind, security, and confidence.