What Should You Automate First?

What Should You Automate First?

Your company is poised for digital transformation, and it’s time to implement your first AI chatbot. On the surface, this sounds simple. But choosing the right starting point is critical to your success. What should you automate first? 

There’s no single right answer to this question. However, there are ways to decide the best place to start, and where to go next. Before you get overwhelmed with the possibilities, it’s important to create an implementation road map. Creating this plan can be challenging, but without a sound implementation strategy, the whole solution could crumble. 

Naturally, the first step is to evaluate your options and choose the right starting point. Below are some tips on starting your chatbot or conversational AI implementation. 

Begin with a Simple Process

Before you jump into big projects, consider starting small. Choose a simple process that will generate rapid results, otherwise known as the Minimum Viable Process. The benefit to this approach is that people can see results fast, and a quick win will demonstrate that your automation project brings value.

As you consider your options, consider two key factors. You’ll want to hit the “sweet spot” for each.

Complexity

Choose a process that doesn’t require too many steps. Automating a complex process before your team has enough experience can lead to unexpected issues, delaying successful completion. 

On the other hand, automating an overly simple process won’t necessarily result in any meaningful benefits--it might not save much time, for instance. Ideally, your first automation project should focus on a process that is relatively low in complexity, but high in time required to complete it. 

Employee Involvement

The other factor to consider is how many employees are involved in a process. A process might be simple, say only five steps. But if a different employee handles each of those steps, or if several different employees each complete the process differently, that can significantly complicate automation. 

Look for a process that’s completed by a limited number of employees. But again, make sure that it’s not a process so simple that automation won’t yield compelling results.

Choose a Highly Relevant Process

The most successful automation endeavors often start with a process that’s highly relevant to the core business function. For example, a hospital might choose to implement conversational AI for confirming patient appointments. This is a simple process that’s essential to the business--and takes lots of employees’ time. Thus there will be an immediate, visible ROI for this automation project.

That same functionality won’t do much good in banking, since there’s little need for appointments. However, a banking chatbot might run lead-generation campaigns, collect customer feedback, or deliver 24/7 customer support. 

Look for Repetitiveness and Repeatability

The more often that employees complete a given process, the more time can be saved through automation. Therefore using chatbots for these repetitive tasks is a great option. Think about the activities that employees do over and over, but that add little real value.

Meanwhile, it’s also important that the process you choose is repeatable--that is, it’s standardized across the organization. If multiple employees all have different ways of completing the same process, it cannot be automated successfully. Before introducing any kind of automation, decide on a standard process and ensure that employees all master the new, consistent approach. 

Core Business Examples

If you’re not sure where to start, you can also look to HR, Finance, and Management departments, which all perform key business functions. These departments offer plenty of opportunities for incorporating automation and chatbots. 

Human Resources

HR departments can focus their initial automation efforts toward hiring and onboarding employees. Since this is a protracted process, it’s best to concentrate on a few steps at first (for instance, screening job applicants and setting interview appointments). For many organizations, this is a relatively low-volume process, so there’s plenty of leeway to make improvements over time. 

Finance

Finance departments are often ripe for automation because their processes must be so consistent and accurate. Find the medium between simple and complex processes, for example, customer invoicing and chasing late payments. Each of these options is an excellent place to start. 

Management

When it comes to automating management, it’s a good idea to provide workflow support for a manager or team lead. Managers need a guide for their work, so they know how to facilitate their team. For example, the organization can focus on a simple management process like management approval. This could be as simple as approving purchase orders or signing off on reports. 

Why Is It Important To Automate Business Processes?

Below are some key reasons to automate your business processes.

Clarity

The initial start of the automatization process involves absolute clarity. You can not design and automate the workflow effectively if you do not know the people responsible for running the process and the steps involved. Process mapping can help clarify to team members and be a training resource. You can gain significant insights from analyzing the automatization process by showing the gap between your current and ideal processes. 

Streamlined Processes

Streamlined processes can arguably be one of the most significant outcomes of an automation system process. Discovering who is accountable for each task, customizing notifications, gaining valuable insights, and rapid turnaround times make it easier to minimize wasteful tasks and focus on the main functions that provide value. 

Record Compliance

Throughout business process automation, every task is recorded. The recorded information can be used to teach, learn what to do better, and complete compliance audits. 

Standardized Operations

After automating a business process, usually, there will be a consistent standard of outcomes after each use. Your organization can become reliable once you standardize operations, which can help increase the number of customers. 

Customer Satisfaction

Across all industries, customer satisfaction should be a top priority. To help exceed customer expectations, focus your organization on the process and operational excellence. If you follow those simple steps, customers are more likely to become brand loyal to your company.

Avoid These Mistakes When Starting Your Automation Journey

To avoid poor results, skip these mistakes when setting up your roadmap. Too often people will make their website a source for FAQs. Customers will want resolutions to their questions, but true automation does not use a FAQ or knowledge bases and re-directions. In a chat message, a customer wants a fast, concise answer, not a link to a long web page where they have to find what they’re looking for. Customers are asking questions to help lead to a transaction. 

Another mistake is redirecting the user. It’s crucial that the chat system understands the user inquiry with complete confidence. If a system redirects a user to other links (which will most likely give general answers) or redirects a user to a web page, this will not resolve the problem. Redirection can also hurt correlating the data. It costs a lot of time and money to track where the customer went when you redirected them. 

It is better to keep users inside the structured environment of the chat window because you can use a high-fidelity omnichannel digital worker to get relevant data to analyze the customer process more efficiently. 

One of the greatest mistakes is your chatbot not knowing the user. Your digital worker should always know whom they are conversing with. This creates a better customer relationship and a better experience for the user. When you automate interactions, be sure to connect your chatbot to data sources that will provide meaningful user data. 

Also, the chatbot must know when to send their information over to an actual human. Once the virtual assistant can no longer help, it is suitable for an actual human to deal with the service request. There is no need to lose a customer due to a lack of understanding. It’s always a good idea to keep the customer in mind. 

Ready to learn more about how automation and conversational AI can support your business processes? Schedule a live demo to see how Druid can work for you.

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