Being able to reach out to your customers and clients and maintain strong communication is vital for any business.
This is where ClickSend excels: in providing communication through the channels your clients use most.
This improves engagement and gives your business an advantage over your competitors.
But all this communication exists only as a moment in a larger business operation.
When you send an email to a prospective lead or an SMS to remind a client of a meeting, you’re communicating within a process.
Building, optimising, and following effective processes is key to helping your business perform at the levels you know it’s capable of.
That’s why, in this article, we’re going to look at how you can use third-party tools like Zapier and IFTTT to integrate ClickSend with business process management software like Process Street.
Through this kind of integration, you can follow your well-documented processes and automate your communications, saving you time to focus on providing the services your company does best.
- What do third-party automation services do?
- How to utilise business process management software
- Plus a tutorial on how you can build an automated process using ClickSend and Process Street
What do third-party automation services do?
Automation is one of the big current buzzwords and seemingly everyone is talking about it.
According to the report Four Fundamentals of Workplace Automation from McKinsey, the average marketing executive could save 15% of their time by utilising readily available automation services.
Lots of software you use likely automates your business operations already. ClickSend takes many aspects of communication and automates it, meaning you don’t have to sit there sending SMS or email manually – imagine the pain that would be!
But beyond independent platforms another breed of automation services has popped up: third-party automation tools.
There are three big players:
- Zapier – which connects with over 1000 different apps and webapps is my favorite for a professional setting. The ability to create multi-step connections allows non-techies to build complex automated systems, and the paid plan allows for teams to collaborate on building automations. A single automation within Zapier is referred to as a zap.
- IFTTT – which has a large library of connected partners too is my preference for mobile use and for creating personal automations. With IFTTT’s applets you can easily and quickly create small connections between services or devices which make your life flow more smoothly.
- Flow – which is the Microsoft competitor to Zapier and boasts a high degree of functionality when connecting different Microsoft services together. If you’re a company which primarily uses Office or other related tools, then Flow might fit very well in your workflows.
A simple example of an automation I use regularly when writing might be for when I have a new idea for an article. I post the idea into a Slack channel firing a zap which takes that idea and creates a new row in an Airtable database with that idea as the title.
This means I can record ideas ready to work on from within the platform I use most: Slack – whether I’m on my laptop or walking round town with my mobile.
One of the best uses for these automations is as a tool to take extra steps out of your workflows, allowing you to streamline your processes. When you’re following the principles of business process management, automations become very valuable.
How to utilise business process management software
In short, business process management is about organising your business around repeatable processes.
If you have a particular task to do, you follow the relevant process to get it done.
In reality it becomes a little more complex because following processes opens up the opportunity to improve those processes – which is where the real value of business process management shines through.
When you follow a set process and track performance along the way, you will be able to add steps to increase the quality of the output or remove unnecessary steps to streamline the process and get more done.
Optimising a process over time means that your work and output will not just improve, but it will improve consistently and those performance benefits will be seen across the team – because everyone doing that task is working from the same process.
Once you’ve started running simple processes you can begin to improve those processes, making use of form fields, variables, and automations. Checklists can be automatically assigned to different members of the team and they’ll show up in that person’s Process Street inbox with a due date ready for them to begin.
This keeps everyone on the same page and makes sure the best possible process is run every time.
To make it even clearer, let’s check out an automation we could set up which could connect a Process Street template for order processing to ClickSend to shoot a notification SMS to a customer.
How to connect Process Street and ClickSend
In our use case, we have a member of staff working through an order processing checklist.
You can see this checklist embedded below:
Within this checklist there is a form field to record the customer’s telephone number, the name of their product, and a tracking ID for the delivery.
When the member of staff completes the task Notify customer of delivery confirmation, Zapier will automatically take the information from the relevant form fields and pass it to ClickSend to deliver the SMS.
Let’s look at how we can put this together.
Set up Process Street as your Trigger app
From the Zapier home screen, select Make a Zap and chose Process Street as your Trigger app.
Now you want to specify the specific trigger we want to use. Choose the New Task Checked option to launch the zap at the moment a specified task on the checklist has been completed.
Once you have done this, you can connect your Process Street account. Zapier will prompt you to enter an API key in a pop out window.
You can generate a Process Street API key in your Organisation under the tab Settings & API. When you have the API key simply copy and paste it into the pop out window and click to test it is working.
Now you can edit the options of where in Process Street the trigger is located.
As you can see in the image below, I’ve opted for the template Order Processing Checklist and the task Notify customer of delivery confirmation.
Now you can test the trigger to see if it works.
Connect the zap to ClickSend and build your message
This process mirrors the one above.
First select ClickSend as your Action app and then select Send SMS as your specific action, as shown below.
Next, connect your ClickSend account to Zapier. You can find the necessary information on the Subaccounts screen within your ClickSend dashboard.
Zapier should ask you for your username and an API key. When connected your screen should look like the image below.
Now we want to work our magic.
In the Edit Template section, we want to enter Process Street data into the To field and the Message field.
If you click on the icon on the right hand side of the field a dropdown list will appear. Each item on the list corresponds to a form field within the Process Street checklist.
For the To field, I have selected Checklist Form Fields Customer Phone Number. This will automatically pull the number from Process Street and give it to ClickSend to use.
In the Message field, I have written the template for the SMS. Within the template I have placed form fields pulled from Process Street for both the name of the product and the tracking number of the product.
This gives the customer the important information for them within an otherwise static template.
N.B. Remember to add an opt out at the end of the message. ClickSend will automatically recognize the command STOP if a customer uses it in their reply.
Start automating your processes today!
That wasn’t so hard, was it?
Once you have your system set up, you don’t need to touch it again.
A quick 5 minutes building automations into your processes allows you to save time in the long run.
You could use the process shown above, or build one entirely of your own. The world is your oyster.
Through Zapier, you can connect ClickSend with over 1000 different apps and build professional workflows which increase quality while saving both time and money.
Let us know in the comments below what other automations you use ClickSend with!