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What should your business still be doing manually, anyway?

When it comes to business processes, many companies try to automate as much as possible to help save time and streamline operations. From accounting software to social media tools, there are countless ways to automate small and large tasks alike.

But, automation isn’t for everything—contrary to what many business owners believe. In fact, there are some things in business that you're better off doing by hand … and I’m here to give you the rundown on what they are. 

4 Tasks Your Business Should Be Doing Manually

Approximately two-thirds of businesses have fully automated at least one function in their company. And as technology evolves more each year, this number continues to grow. But, this doesn’t mean you should necessarily push manual tasks to the side and automate absolutely everything in sight. There are some tasks that should (and frankly, need) to be done by hand. Without further ado, here are four things your business should not be automating. 

1. Responding To Customer Reviews

Customer reviews can make or break a business. They are what your potential customers see and read before deciding whether or not to go with your business or a competitor. Not to mention, they can be a great marketing tool. 

With customer reviews being an oh-so-important part of your business, it goes without saying that it’s crucial to respond to reviews. But, something you should 100% absolutely never automate is your responses to reviews. You hear me? Never. 

When responding to customer reviews, the last thing you want to do is sound like a robot and say the same thing to every customer that leaves a review. After all, they took the time out of their busy day to give you (hopefully good!) feedback. 

All responses should be genuine and personalized. When responding, don’t forget to show your gratitude for the feedback. If it’s a negative review, investigate the situation, be empathetic, and provide a solution. 

2. Providing Customer Support

Picture this: You call a support line to get some answers to questions you have. There are so many department options that you don’t know which one to select. And once you finally choose an option, you’re led down a pipeline of other options and struggle to get a hold of a real live person. Sound familiar? If so, you’re definitely not alone. This is the reality for many customers trying to get support.

When it comes to providing customer service, steer clear of automating. Attempting to automate certain customer support options, like phone calls and online chats with robots and canned responses, makes it extremely frustrating for customers. And what can said frustration lead to? That’s right—a lost customer for your business (and bad reviews you must attend to!).

Instead of automating aspects of customer service, pride yourself on your customer support and try to give the best experience as possible. Give your customers numerous ways to get in touch with your team, like email, chat, or phone call. And, be sure that regardless of which customer support avenue your customers take, they can easily get in touch with a representative. 

At my accounting software and payroll company, we pride ourselves on our top-notch and quick customer service. And, our customers absolutely love us for it (based on the reviews we meticulously read through and respond to!). So, don’t be afraid to provide some good old-fashioned customer support. 

3. Engaging On Social Media

Chances are, part of your marketing plan probably includes some form of social media. After all, it is 2021, and social media is all the rage. If you want to really give your business a boost on social media, you have to get your followers talking and engage with them. And, you probably guessed it: engaging with folks on social platforms is something you should not automate. 

Keeping people engaged on social media is an absolute must if you want to help spread the word about your business. When you engage with customers on social media, your responses shouldn’t be bland and robot-like. Trust me, that’s not what customers want to see. And, those types of responses are not going to make people want to engage with your business.

Take advantage of social media to humanize your business and truly connect with customers. Let your business’s personality shine through in your social responses to give engagement a boost. 

4. Thanking Customers

Your customers are the foundation of your business. Heck without them, you wouldn’t be in business. Because they do so much for your company, you should be thanking them, right? Right. And, you should be automating said thank yous? Wrong.

When it comes to showing your customers your appreciation, avoid automating as much as you possibly can. Handwriting and sending a simple thank you note or email can go a long way with customers. And yes, your customers notice (and appreciate) the small details. 

Of course, if your business has really taken off and you have more customers than you can count, handwriting thousands of thank yous may not be feasible. But even as your business grows, you should still avoid automating this aspect by adding a touch of personalization to emails or selecting certain customers to send thank you notes to. 

Whatever you wind up doing, make sure you’re showing your customers that you appreciate their business. 

So … What Should You Be Automating? 

Now that we’ve gone over what you shouldn’t be automating at your business, let’s review what type of tasks you should consider automating. Here are some things you may want to automate at some point:

  • Accounting tasks
  • Payroll tax filings
  • Emails
  • Social media posts (e.g., scheduling posts in advance)
  • Appointment and meeting scheduling
  • Sales

Again, automation is a great tool you can and should use in business. But, that doesn’t mean you should automate absolutely everything. Take time to consider the tasks that absolutely need automated and the ones you’re better off handling manually.

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This article was written by Mike Kappel from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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