How Automation Saved One Small Business Owner from Hours of Office Work
Running Trusting Connections Nanny Agency used to involve a lot of, well, babysitting.
Co-founder Rosalind Prather and her staff were consumed by managing administrative tasks, like collecting and digging up information about customer families, screening and hiring nannies, reviewing paperwork, and scheduling and confirming meetings.
Such is life for small business owners, who say they spend 68 percent of their time managing daily tasks in their business—instead of working on their business strategy and goals, according to a survey from The Alternative Board, a membership organization for business owners.
But for Prather, that lifestyle has changed now that she’s leveraging automation software to do much of the administrative work for her. The days of manual labor almost seem unbelievable to her now.
“I don’t know how we survived,” said Prather, whose agency operates in Tucson, Arizona and Southlake, Texas. “It looked like a lot of paper checklists, lots of paper wasted. It looked like writing the same email over and over and over again. It looked like lots of mistakes being made.”
After three months of using Infusionsoft, Prather found that automation had made her business so much more efficient that she was able to reassign her 20-hour-per-week office assistant to more meaningful work.
“We’re able to do what we do, better,” she said. “Before, we were treading water, trying to survive.”
Small business owners don’t have to reply to each email personally, record customer information into notes and spreadsheets, chase paperwork to be completed, or repeatedly call customers about appointments and reminders. Automating these tasks helps small business owners save time—and that translates into saved money.
For an in-depth overview of how office tasks can be automated, check out our free e-book, “The Small Business Office Automation Guide.”
Here’s a before-and-after look at what automating administrative tasks meant for Trusting Connections:
Before: Customer contact information was stored in multiple places
After: All contact information and notes are stored in one place
Families looking to hire a nanny are asked to complete a comprehensive registration form on the Trusting Connections website. In addition to covering the basics—household information, children’s medical needs, emergency contacts—the form asks parents to describe their parenting approach to topics like nutrition, discipline, and routines.
When the form is completed, the responses are automatically uploaded to Prather’s customer relationship management (CRM) database in Infusionsoft. Before using the software, Prather was patching systems together, unable to store all of the information in a single database. Now, she said, “When I look at a family’s contact record, I have everything I need.”
Before: Nannies were vetted, hired and trained through manual processes
After: Reviews, reminders, and confirmations occur automatically
For safety and legal reasons, it’s imperative that the nannies working for Trusting Connections are up-to-date on car insurance and registration, as well as first-aid and CPR certifications. “If we have nannies walking around who are not trained and certified, it’s a huge liability issue,” Prather said.
Before the company used automation, employees had to check each nanny’s records for expired credentials and manually send email reminders (as well as reminders of reminders) asking them to update their credentials.
Now that the expiration dates are tracked in the software, nannies receive an automated email reminding them to renew their documents one month before the deadline. The software also notifies employees when expiration is a week out in order to prevent nannies from working without the proper documents.
Automated sequences also help Trusting Connections handle other once-tedious tasks involved with hiring and training nannies, like sending email confirmations of interviews and orientation sessions.
Before: Consultations were confirmed through back-and-forth emails
After: Consultations are confirmed in seconds
Prather calls families to schedule an in-home consultation before matching them with a nanny. In the pre-automation days, she’d hang up the phone and start typing an email to the family, confirming the consultation details and sending forms to be completed beforehand. She’d also manually send an email to the consulting staff member that included the new client’s name, address, and the consultation date and time.
Each email took about five minutes to write, which didn’t seem like much—until Prather realized she could send the emails in seconds, not minutes.
With automation software, Prather now enters the consultation details into an internal form. The completion of the form automatically triggers two emails to be sent: The family receives a confirmation, while the staff member receives an email notifying her of the consultation.
And thanks to merge fields—which insert information like names and addresses from the form into the emails—Prather’s emails are already written for her. “I went from five minutes down to three seconds,” she said.
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