Give Your Robots A Checkup With An Automation Audit
Every robot needs a checkup.
Automation is wonderful and steadily changing how we market ourselves, crunching the numbers, organizing the lists, and in some cases sending out the browser-based push notifications all on its own. But any robot, left alone, will eventually fall off the track a little bit, and that’s what makes an automation audit so important.
What Is An Automation Audit?
At its most basic, an automation audit is looking at what you’ve automated to make sure that it’s still functioning properly. It can either be on an annual or semi-annual basis, you can do it on a running basis, or you can run one as complaints pop up.
As to why it’s necessary, it’s important to understand that all automation really is, as a tool, is a set of rules your computer follows, to the letter. These rules can be almost absurdly complex, much like the programs running your computer themselves. However, as anybody who has played a badly designed board game can tell you, the rules only work until they don’t. Similarly, there’s the problem of GIGO, short for “garbage in/garbage out.” If you start with bad data, or problems creep into your data over time, then things will go off the rails quickly.
The good news is that automation is already well done, and constantly improving. You’re unlikely to come across something going completely haywire. However, the audit is more likely to uncover places where you can polish your campaign, in a multitude of ways.
Automation needs humans to manage it.
Automation Audit Best Practices
- Have a road map of your system in place. What’s automated, what isn’t, and why? What automation needs a human to respond to it, and what fulfills itself automatically? Finding this will often unveil places where you could be more effective, either on a human or an automated scale. This will also be useful going forward if you decide to add more automation or tweak your infrastructure.
- Follow the marketing rule of eating what you serve; that is, you should be getting your own push notifications, at least insofar as it makes sense. There’s no better way to spot and stop a problem than being on the receiving end of it, after all.
- On a regular basis, such as weekly, pull a random selection of your push notifications that have been automated and do a quality check. For personalized results, for example, ask yourself if this is the best option or if you can tighten the rules up slightly.
- Don’t hesitate, especially with informational push like package shipping notices, to ask your customers what they think. Customers with a high volume of orders, for example, usually need the information, but might appreciate a different approach, such as a summary of orders or custom order pushes.
- Finally, keep on top of the technology. Automation is changing quickly, with new tools and features added to the tools you already use every day. It’s likely if there isn’t already a way to automate something, there likely will be one worth considering soon.
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