Most business owners, large, medium or small, understand the importance of digitising processes – but it’s easier said than done.

We take a look at some simple steps any broker or car dealership can implement in order to digitise their business in 2021.

‘Digitising’, can refer to several notions but in this instance, we’ll review online/cloud-based solutions that streamline business operations, and improve efficiently. For example, moving from paper hard copies to digital forms or automated emails rather than manually sending them.

Firstly, security

Making sure that all business data is secure is a must when moving online into digital solutions.

Renown companies like Salesforce, Mailchimp and Google offer excellent, accessible security solutions.

Take their advice;

  • Don’t use one password for everything and use complicated passwords with symbols, upper and lowercase letters and numbers are stronger
  • Use a secured WiFi network at your workplace
  • Backup copies of important documents and data
  • Control / restrict physical access to your computers
  • Beware of email phishing

*Email phishing is a way cyber criminals steal confidential data by using fraudulent links / attachments within emails. These links and attachments often contain malware.

Cloud-based applications

Cloud-based applications allow documents, spreadsheets and presentations to be created, edited, shared and collaborated on, anywhere, anytime, from any connected device.

It’s not surprising that the most popular cloud-based applications are from Google. The applications below are all free with a Gmail account and simple share features to allow others to access and edit documents online.

Google Docs
A cloud-based word processing application. Ideal for text documents requiring input from numerous people.

Google Sheets
Cloud-based spreadsheets. Ideal for sharing, adding to and editing databases.

Google Slides
A cloud-based presentation tool. Ideal for multiple parties creating and working on presentations with graphs, images, animation and text.

These applications automatically save changes too, so there’s no more work lost to dead batteries or internet disconnections.

Electronic signatures, documents and agreements

Using digital signature solutions is one of the easiest ways to digitise business processes and improve efficiencies. This helps to provide a better customer experience..

DocuSign and HelloSign, for example, allow documents to be sent, signed and returned online. This means that a client can instantly sign contracts or other documents requiring signatures on the fly. No more waiting for paperwork to be mailed out.

Using API integration (Application Programming Interface), which, put simply, allows two or more software applications to talk to one another, can automate signable documents. For example, if a client requests a quote, a privacy consent form might be automatically sent to them (via your CRM), saving you the time of doing so.

Online booking systems

Platforms like Calendly allow people to schedule meetings or appointments themselves. It can be sent via a link within an email or SMS. A client is then able to access a specified calendar (such as yours or a combined team calendar) to confirm a desired meeting – the calendar owner is then sent an email confirmation, with the selected meeting automatically confirmed within the respective calendar.

Perhaps a client wants to discuss rates and loan amounts on a car or home, but needs to find a specific time rather than trying to arrange via a string of emails or calls. Calendly solves the problem of ‘missed call tennis matches between brokers and clients.

The process is all online and can be fully automated.

Social Media

Of course, social media is not 2021 specific, but digitising some processes can be. With top-notch content crafted in advance and without being rushed, you can schedule posts for specific times and days and for specific demographics.

For example, you might create a template for sharing satisfied customer feedback on Facebook. Upon receiving positive feedback, you’ll be able to copy and paste their message onto the template and then directly to social media platforms.

Well used social media accounts can help build brand awareness and generate business.

Emails

One of the oldest digital solutions out there still has a few tricks to offer/ Automated emails are one such example.

The ability to set automated emails following a ‘trigger’ can be extremely beneficial and time efficient. For example, sending a client an automated email should the client not answer one of your calls. There are a few steps required to make this happen (such as calling via your CRM app), however can be done nonetheless.

Other email automations can be done following a web form submission or a completed electronically signed document.

Declutter

Another huge benefit of digitising your business is decluttering. Accounting programs such as Xero offer an online solution for your accounting needs. Employees can also have access, allowing them to request time off and view payslips and annual leave for example.

Other cloud-based platforms like Evernote allow users to store notes, content, appointments, reminders, receipts and much more online. Using the app for phone and computer, means users can access the notes anywhere at any time.

Chatbots

Brokers and car dealers are no strangers to clients operating in their own time (and at their own time).

When [potential] clients need answers, albeit simple ones, a chatbot can help. Zendesk for example, allows you to create an automated messaging bot. Chatbots can be set up to automatically reply to a number of questions.

Their AI learning allows them to build a database of questions and answers which solves the problem, including misspelled or grammatically incorrect questions. Users can also read saved conversations providing the ability to contact potential clients who may have shown interest the previous night.

Common options are setting up chatbots to schedule calls and email out documents upon request. Conversation flows can lead clients to making appointments and requesting more information.

Summary

Depending on the solution, costs for digitising a business can be minimal and sometimes even free.

Even paid options (like Salesforce) can quickly make up for the initial outlay, through new business acquisition and improved efficiencies.
At the end of the day, more and more people are beginning to expect digital processes. This includes both staff and customers.

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