Troy Dean of WP Elevation offers an interesting perspective on balancing automation with human creativity. In today’s episode, he shares what his years of experience of running a digital agency and online community have taught him about automation, business, relationships, and fatherhood.
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Finding the balance:
Troy’s take on automation is: There’s a place for it, but it can also be a hindrance if you use it incorrectly.
Troy took a break from his podcast for a year, but now it is back up and running. After some time off, he realized that they were using too much automation which was actually posing a challenge to getting their work done.
He reached out to a friend who understands how humans and robots interact, and the advice he received was “use robots to scale your business, and humans to be creative.” He realized that he had too many robots and therefore his humans were only doing data entry.
An automation break down:
To power his podcast, he illustrates how he uses robots to streamline the process as follows:
- Schedule Once allows a guest to schedule their interview according to Troy’s live schedule.
- Once they book an appointment, they receive an email from Troy outlining how the podcast process will look from there.
- Through Zapier, this new appointment alerts Asana which kicks open a new project that outlines all of the steps to creating the podcast.
- It drops a name into a Slack channel so that he gets notified.
- Then, it creates a folder in Google Drive so that when he finishes recording the podcast he can just drop it in the already created folder.
What they don’t automate (the human touch): research, prep, interview, and management.
While Troy didn’t receive a proper introduction, he sees this as the perfect opportunity to challenge you, the listener, to do some research on him and write an intro for him in the comments. Go!
He does offer one hint: he became a parent last year to his son Oscar which has brought him and his wife a lot of change and happiness, and surprisingly a boost to his productivity.
18:12 “If you want to improve your productivity, have a child.”
WP Elevation is a community for WordPress business owners. There are a lot of touch points involved between students and the program, so they use automation by Infusionsoft to manage relationships.
Less is more. Troy says you can over automate things and over trigger things, so you have to pay attention to the user experience.
23:14 “You can’t just install a plugin and automate something and then hit go, you have to really pay attention to the student experience and you have to put yourself in the seat of one of your customers.”
You can look at data, but customer communication is also key.
25:35 “You can’t just take data on its face value. You have to really dig in to understand why that data is the way it is and why people are behaving the way they’re behaving and sometimes that means just picking up the phone with a really highly engaged student or someone who’s been missing for a while and isn’t engaged just asking them what’s going on.”
When it comes to chat bots, he has mixed feelings and can only say “it depends. However, his favorite Zap is very specific. When people fill out his survey and let him know what their biggest challenge is, he gets a notification in his slack channel of their name and their problem. This allows him to respond to them individually with a solution and create real connection and value.