Integrating Integrations

Have you decided to use software only to find that it works best with an addon ! There is something you thought the software did only it needs to be added as an extra! If it isn’t added as an extra it needs to be integrated with another software!

To make life easier Zapier creates connections between services. Zapier is awesome for many reasons but if it is bad for anything it is for promoting the integration industry! What? There is an integration industry? No! There isn’t an integration industry but you would certainly be justified in believing there was one. Why? Because there is an integration for an integration and where it stops no one really knows.

Often I use the expression ‘around and around in circles we go and where we stop no one knows’. Of course we do not need to go around in circles if we have a clear idea of goals, targets and actions. What exactly do we want something to do to make our business run better. To keep our customers happy!

Why do we venture down this path of integration? The reason is often ‘to make our business run better and keep our customers happy. Communicating with our customers electronically via email, SMS and social media has enabled programmers to build software to make interactions easier and in recent years run automatically. Typically when a customer orders something online or requests something through an online form there is an automatic response. These responses generally are standard ‘Thank you’ responses. In recent years software has been developed to the use alongside specific platforms. Not just ecommerce platforms such as Woocommerce, Magento, Shopify ect but also WordPress, Wix, Drupal.

Such software has been developed for businesses to interact more intelligently using technology to carry out simply tasks that a human wouldnt have done or would have done but with errors! This isn’t to say there wont be errors by replacing human based tasks with computer generated tasks but that is another consideration for each business to take!

When a business decides to use software to interact with customers, all manner of considerations need to be made. One of the considerations is which software is the perfect fit for our requirements. So the first thing to do is ask what it is you do already that can be automated. Followed by making a list of improvements.

One of the most common uses for automation is sending emails and SMS and more recently the use of messenger bots. The consideration is how human do you want to be for your customers! There is a big difference between first non human interaction and an automated follow up email. The advances in software have been made by activating triggers. A trigger can be any one of a number of built in processes within your system. For example, an order completed or an account created. Once this action has been triggered it can set off an automation. Eg a Welcome email. Automated email sending has been around for over a decade. The advances in this process of automation is based on conditional logic. which has also now been around for over a decade. Infusionsoft was one of the first services on the market and since then many have followed. Many SaaS that is! And many services that bolt on or integrate! There are services out there that do most of what you want them to do and then there are extra things that are impossible without an integration.

The problem with all the integrations available is whether they actually add value to the business.

The most important consideration is setting up your software. Software has to be setup by a human or a team of humans. And there is nothing more frustrating when you discover during the setup that your software doesn’t do exactly what you want it to do without an integration!

Are you currently using software to automate sending emails? Is your business dependent on whether someone opens and email and clicks on a specific link in an email ?

Will your business fail if you dont get reviews from customers after they made an order? do you forget to send an email after purchase has been made asking for a review ? These are typical automations that carried out by software off the shelf but can also be coded into any platform.

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