So, robotics might sounds like a pretty far-fetched idea but a bit of robotics can change the way you think about growth and can massively increase efficiency.
This time around I will start with an example, of how I have done this previously and how simple and massively beneficial it was and then later we can apply this to you and how you can do this for your business.
Year 2018, Client name: XXX (confidential)
Client was a small NFP (Non-for profit) e-commerce website which had two sides to the business, one side was for retail customer and others one for supplier and wholesalers. So, think of it as a combination of both B2B and B2C.
There were total of 5 full time staff in the team. 1x Marketing, 1 x Sales, 1x Accountant, 1xFounder, 1x Technology. There were also another 5 volunteers.
The business was actually doing well and have had a good growth in so far, however their growth plan for the year ahead was massive. So, I was brought in to help with how they can grow without actually adding resource or costs.
After my usual first round of interviews across the business it was pretty obvious that there were massive inefficacies. Which actually was a good sign, the team was fantastic and had really good ideas, but there were so many things that they were doing manually that there was so much opportunity to improve.
Next day I organised, 3 sessions 2 hours each. Customer Journey Mapping, Business as usual mapping and manual task mapping.
These maps helped us all realise the major in-efficiencies and we mapped them all out on a wall. Even though there were 23 major ones, we decided to start with the ones that were consuming the most amount of time.
- Reporting was completely manual and was done on 5 different systems. Taking about 10.5 hours per weekto produce investor packs and business reporting.
- There was a massive amount of data re-keying happening and it was all done manually during the supplier / wholesalers on-boarding. Salesperson spent 22 hours per on-boarding. They were doing 3 a month.
- Marketing person was manually pulling all the ads spend data and was constantly spending time collating, copying data from one-excel to anther to make sense of the data.
And many more in-efficiencies like these.
So now that I had a list of in-efficiencies, I started to attack them from different angles and approaches. Over the next few weeks, we focused on getting these tasks automated with the help of robotics.
So, we realised that there will different solutions for most of these problems and all these problems are unique.
- For the first one we built a custom chrome extension. Which copied the data from all different reports, put that in Google sheets and then we used Google data studio to visualise it. This saved 8.5 hours per week.
- Similarly we built “robot” or for better word computer macro to copy information from different source and collate them together within one system and then another robot to input that information onto the on-boarding process. Hence saving 16 hours per onboarding.
- We also built API solution to capture Ad info from different platform and combine into one.
Eventually with just 3 small robotics help we were able to give back 15% time to the team. Which actually resulted in 30% growth in revenue, because the team was focused on task which generated revenue rather than manual tasks.
This 2 months piece of work with the client was excellent and ever since I have implemented similar automations and robotics at multiple places.
So lets go through the process.
So my process is simple for me, so if you think you can achieve similar results doing it your own way, go for it.
Step #1 – Customer Journey Mapping
Now the Salesforce definition for customer journey mapping is –
A customer journey map is a visual representation of every experience your customers have with you. It helps to tell the story of a customer’s experience with your brand from original engagement and into hopefully a long-term relationship.
This is a sample of what my customer journey map looks like. Pretty much a representation of what a user’s sees, feels and experiences. You can make this very complicated and trust me you can spend hours on it (been there done that). But the idea is to keep it simple, spend couple of hours on it, map all the touch points, try to cover everything. DON’T spend time making it look pretty but make sure you can visualise everything. Key things to remember are pain points, make sure to write them down.
Step #2 – BAU Journey Mapping
This is exactly like customer journey mapping, but instead from an employee point of view. This is to understand how your business is setup. Below is an example of this.
Step #3 – Combine Pain Points
Now that you have gone through both sides of the business. Now its time to get all a the pain points on a pen and paper
Step #4 – Prioritisation based on Value
Think about what is important and what isn’t. Just select the things that will have the most impact.
Step #5 – Prioritisation based on Effort
Now its about what will require the most effort. I guess this is simple.
Now that you have the list, lets go through some possible automations –
Possible Automations and Robots –
A macro is a short sequence of code that automatically expands into a set of instructions to perform a single task. If you are doing something over and over again in code, such as transforming certain text inputs into something else, you can write a macro for that task and call on that macro whenever you need to perform that task. Common macros include keyboard and mouse shortcuts and text substitutions.
Closely related to the macro is the script. The word “script” is a general term for a sequence of computer code that executes a specific procedure or series of tasks. Certain computer languages, like Perl and Python, are known as scripting languages. Most scripting languages are not compiled, but rather interpreted, meaning that they’re run line by line. The compiled languages turn the code into something the computer can understand before running it.
In a sense, robots represent the next generation of macros. While macros can perform certain functions automatically once they’ve been programmed, robots can respond to external stimuli and have their functions reprogrammed. In other words, a robot could even decide when to execute macros appropriately.
Marketing automation is the use of software and web-based services to execute, manage and automate marketing tasks and processes. It replaces manual and repetitive marketing processes [emails, social media, certain website actions] with purpose-built software and applications geared toward performance.
As quite a lot of our tasks happen on the browser, and there are quite a few task which can be automated by building a custom chrome extension.
Sometime there are API opportunities where we don’t think of any. So always make sure to explore them.
External Tools like Zapier
Like Zapier there are many tools which can really help you speed up your daily tasks by creating workflows.
Robotics will help you improve productivity, reduce errors, and save you time and resources.