How Artificial Intelligence Revolutionizes Small Businesses

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Artificial Intelligence is here and with it, new technological opportunities open up. We'll give you 6 ways that can improve your business operations:

Artificial intelligence is not the future of businesses. It’s already here. Google is getting smarter each day and it uses machine learning to make search results more accurate and relevant. Big businesses like Amazon have taken the game to the next level with customer service personalization. Voice-powered devices and mobile technologies are a match made in heaven, helping us find information and get things done faster.

Most importantly, AI is not a privilege only large companies have anymore. Today, it’s accessible to businesses of all shapes and sizes, helping them increase performance and reduce costs.

Let’s explore how AI disrupts the small business landscape:

#1 Providing Real-Time Customer Support

In the hyperconnected era, where we use a bunch of instant messaging platforms, customers expect you to answer their questions fast. They prefer reaching out to you via online channels like social networks or chatbots rather than engaging in in-person interactions with customer support representatives. Moreover, Gartner says that 85% of customer-brand interactions will be done without a human agent by 2020.

And, this is exactly where AI-powered chatbots can help. You can integrate them with your website and social profiles to minimize your customers’ wait times and humanize their interactions with your brand. Chatbots are constantly getting updated to personalize their automated responses and make them more relevant and human-like.

Just look at Sephora’s popular Messenger chatbot. When a user reaches out, the bot asks them to take a brief quiz to learn more about their personality, habits, makeup routines, skin types, etc. Based on a user’s answer, the bot provides personalized product suggestions and tips. A customer can even upload their photo to see how different makeup products would look on them before making a purchase.

#2 Automating Business Processes

AI is designed specifically to automate the complex and routine aspects of your job. This way, it gives you more opportunities to use your time better and focus on creative tasks.

Let’s take the example of natural language transcription that has gained lots of popularity across different industries. For example, it has wide use in higher education, providing students with accurate transcripts of their lectures and helping them focus on listening rather than taking notes. There are also real-time legal transcription tools that identify key legal terms to provide the highest level of transcript quality. Instead of waiting for court transcripts for weeks, attorneys can now get them almost instantly and increase their decision-making processes.

#3 More Effective Digital Marketing Campaigns

AI can improve your digital marketing campaigns on so many levels. First, there is a notable user experience boost. Just look at the popular eCommerce sites like Amazon that provide their customers with highly personalized offers. To retain customers, they monitor what pages each user visits, what kind of content they read, and what products they click on. Moreover, they even segment their email lists, meaning that they don’t send generic messages to each user. Each audience segment gets emails with the content and offers relevant to them, based on what they browsed or purchased before.

Second, AI automates your repetitive digital marketing tasks. For example, you can use predictive analysis to find out what prospects are more likely to respond to your offers and adapt your keyword optimization, lead generation, and content creation strategy to them. Artificial intelligence performs most of your PPC tasks better than humans. Econsultancy found that machines are better at bidding, reporting, finding new trends, identifying important negative keywords, and analyzing competitors.

Finally, AI-powered machines can even write technical content for you. Robots cannot look you in the eye and know what you think or feel. They don’t have their own opinions, drive logical conclusions, or evoke emotional responses in readers.

Still, they can collect customer data and track the latest events, turning them into accurate content. For example, did you know that The Washington Post has an in-house AI tool called Heliograpf that writes a bunch of stories we read on their site? The Associated Press also uses the Wordsmith tool by the Automated Insights to turn their plain data into engaging narratives.

#4 Hiring & Retaining Top Talent

Large companies have access to more resources, have loads of connections, and hire entire departments of HR specialists that know where to find qualified candidates and how to move them forward through different interview rounds. Above all, they have a recognizable brand image that increases their credibility and attracts new candidates.

To stay competitive, small businesses should implement AI. Just like with the above-mentioned examples of content creators, AI can help your HR team analyze piles of resumes more efficiently by streamlining these processes. For example, tools using machine learning can identify which hiring practices worked best for you, such as where you found your candidates or how you connected with them. You can even collect candidates’ data more efficiently, learning more about their work history and determining whether they are the right fit for you.

There are also many augmented analytics tools that help your HR team analyze employee performance data easily. Above all, AI-based employee analytics tools are not designed to identify certain performance problems, but to prevent them in time. They help you create detailed employee performance reports and increase your staff’s satisfaction over time.

#5 Prioritizing Safer Working Environments

With the rise of smart cybersecurity solutions, online threats have also become more sophisticated. According to some recent stats, the recovery from a hacker attack may cost businesses $6 trillion annually by 2021.

This is where the use of machine learning, predictive analytics, and security steps in. Namely, these solutions will help you identify malware, fraudulent emails, and any odd activities on your network faster. Above all, AI-backed cybersecurity tools provide the omnichannel support for your employees, irrespective of the device or system they use.

Again, this doesn’t mean that AI will replace your IT team. Research says that 39% of companies use AI to improve incident detection, while 24% of them use it to familiarize staff with the importance of cybersecurity in the workplace.

#6 Align Your Business Objectives With The Implementation Of AI

Even though these are still the humble beginnings of artificial intelligence, it’s obvious that its use in the small business sector will explode in 2019 and beyond. So, if you still refrain from using these technologies in your business processes, it’s time to rethink your approach.

First, remember that AI doesn’t replace humans. It only minimizes manual workload, improves daily business operations, and increases employee productivity. Most importantly, AI predicts potential problems your business may face and saves you money.

Second, keep in mind that the application of AI depends on your industry and your specific goals and expectations. So, start by analyzing your existing business processes and identifying those aspects that may be improved and automated by AI. The only way to successfully integrate AI with your business operations is to reassess your objectives and make sure they can be achieved with these technologies.


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