Thousands of digital tools are available to businesses today, with new offerings being advertised all the time. What tools can improve the efficiency of your startup? How can you filter the options to decide which ones are best for your business?
Below, we will discuss how you can use specific categories of digital tools to assist in funding applications, to vet recruits, and to automate basic customer service responses.
Getting Ready to Request Funding
When you apply for funding—be it from a grant, an angel investor, or a startup accelerator —you will likely have to prove your mettle by providing a CV. Don’t be intimidated by the length and breadth of such a document. You can use an online CV builder to supply a basic template with visually appealing formatting to base yours on. Plug in your personal information, and you’re good to go. Let the applications commence!
Find the Best Candidates
As your startup grows, scaling up will no doubt include hiring talent and expanding your team. The thought of leafing through stacks of CVs and applications may not be the most appealing of tasks.
That’s where applicant tracking system (ATS) software comes into play. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), ATS is much more advanced than they once was. It can match candidates to the requirements of each position, suggesting a handful of top candidates for your consideration. Furthermore, it can be used to automate the process of scheduling interviews with candidates and composing or sending email communications.
Communicate and Collaborate
In-person meetings are no longer the only or best way to get things done. Digital tools can be used to foster good communication and collaboration between members of your team—especially if some of your talent is remote and spread over a large geographic area.
Video conferencing tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams can be used for rich and informative meetings. Cloud storage applications like Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Sharepoint safely and easily allow the sharing and editing of large files. Collaboration software like Slack, Asana, and Bootcamp perform multiple collaboration functions to varying degrees.
Get Out of the Rut of Repetitive Tasks
Repetitive tasks can be boring to workers and can waste valuable man-hours. Digital tools can be used to automate some of these tasks, freeing up your workforce for jobs requiring innovation and creativity.
What can task automation do for you? Tools like Zapier, Airtable, and If This Then That (IFTTT) can automate workflows that involve multiple software and apps. For example, receiving an email could trigger a chain of events involving Slack, Google Drive, etc. ClickUp helps teams share deliverables and workflows across a variety of external tools.
OSlash can help you access frequently used web pages and text snippets in a flash. Alfred also does this, in addition to programming custom hotkeys to speed up common tasks. Hubspot will aid in marketing channel management. It can also automate customer support, which we will consider more fully in the next section.
Other popular tools include Tallyfly, Zoho Flow, Pipefly, and Microsoft Power Automate. Many of the aforementioned tools cost only a few pounds per month, and others offer basic packages at no charge.
Automate Basic Customer Service
Have you ever used a chatbot to initiate an Amazon return or get the answer to a basic question? You likely enjoyed the immediate response times, as opposed to waiting days for an email or having your call put on hold.
AI tools for customer service can do the same for your business. At the most basic level, you can program automatic responses to common questions in direct messaging on your social media accounts. You can also use chatbot plugins on your website to engage in more dedicated customer service conversations.
These apps can also screen the needs of consumers and direct more complicated needs to human representatives. Allowing the tool to field simple requests frees up your staff and resources for other value-added tasks.
Thanks to advances in natural language processing (NLP) and large language models (LLM), AI chat tools are able to respond more accurately and realistically. At times, customers may not even realise they are chatting with a computer rather than a human customer service representative. At the very least, consumers can enjoy a rapid response time when making basic customer service inquiries.
There are plenty of digital tools available to automate and optimise your startup, but it is important that you choose the right ones for your situation. Otherwise, you may complicate matters rather than increase efficiency.
Some of the best tools will help you develop the needed documentation to request funding, quickly fill positions with the best candidates, aid team collaboration, automate repetitive tasks, and assist with providing the best customer service possible.
When you employ these digital productivity hacks, you give your startup a leg up against the competition. Get started today.