When we start talking about automation or artificial intelligence, people often recoil a little. That might stem from a fear of change, or a belief that it will bring drastic change and completely disrupt the way we work. But if we pay close attention, it becomes evident how automation is already impacting various areas in our personal and professional lives. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a big way either. 

For example, if we look at events, we have automation-powered confirmation emails, and a reminder a few days before the event with perhaps even directions on how to get there. People don’t do that manually like they did in the past. It’s nothing new and it’s something we appreciate. Right?

Usually, you can find opportunities to automate in repetitive tasks or in regular occurrences. Let me illustrate a few others:

A few months ago, I was in Chicago and I called for an Uber that never came. I got charged $5, but I called for another Uber. Once I finally got in the car, I went on Uber’s website and there was a pop-up asking if I had a problem. I started interacting with it, explaining the situation and, afterwards, I realize I was probably not talking to a human. This chat bot ends up telling me I’m a good customer and offers me credit to solve the problem. Uber thus took a very simple thing such as a ride not showing up, which probably happens a lot, and found a solution to improve the customer’s experience and make the process of answering to a complaint easier.

Then there’s the way marketing automation has changed. We used to try to identify a certain number of personas in our members who we’re trying to reach to help us develop and target our content. By using marketing automation through artificial intelligence, which has predictive intelligence of its own, it would be far more effective in targeting the right content at the right people. For example, I’ve been reading more ASAE emails because the technology they’re using — rasa.io — delivers content relevant to me through artificial intelligence. 

One last example is how automation can help with account updates. I had a customer who had just hired a person whose full-time job was to follow up on credit cards that have been lost or stolen or didn’t process through. When they realized they could take care of all of that with technology, they gave her a whole other set of tasks that really add member value. They were able to utilize their resources in a more efficient way because of automation. 

Most organizations I know can probably make several micro-improvements that would make a big impact without spending a tremendous amount of money. These shouldn’t take a tremendous amount of time either. Organizations should start by focusing on what they want their member journey to look like and identifying the small things they could do to get there. If you encourage a culture of small wins, it will lead to making an enormous positive impact in the long run.

Sig is the Membership Software Evangelist for Community Brands, where he focuses on thought leadership through public speaking and writing. Sig has been working with professional and trade associations for over 26 years and is inspired by being part of the association community. Sig was the founder of NimbleUser, which was acquired by Community Brands in 2017. He frequently speaks on the culture of innovation, association technology trends and the human aspects of technology interactions. He has presented at CESSE, ASAE Tech, AMS Fest and a variety of user conferences.

Sig is the Membership Software Evangelist for Community Brands, where he focuses on thought leadership through public speaking and writing. Sig has been working with professional and trade associations for over 26 years and is inspired by being part of the association community. Sig was the founder of NimbleUser, which was acquired by Community Brands in 2017. He frequently speaks on the culture of innovation, association technology trends and the human aspects of technology interactions. He has presented at CESSE, ASAE Tech, AMS Fest and a variety of user conferences.

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