For years now, large-scale businesses have been employing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help drive productivity and high performance. This same technological advantage is available to small businesses, as well, and those who do not leverage this advantage stand to lose ground in the marketplace.
Business owners and CEOs more generally recognize today that “the core purpose of AI is to make jobs and responsibilities more efficient by automating specific tasks and revamping outdated processes,” notes Entrepreneur. In other words, AI “either automates the execution of simple tasks or enhances our ability to perform complex tasks.”
Here are several business functions where AI can make a big difference:
Enhanced Customer Service
Through the use of predictive modeling tools and other resources, AI helps businesses make sense of huge amounts of customer data. Buying patterns, as well as other relevant patterns related to customer behavior, can be discerned through AI. This in turn leads to adaptations in marketing, product design and distribution, and other opportunities to recruit ever larger pools of targeted customers.
What about the elusive goal of customer satisfaction? For some businesses, there’s a distinct problem caused by delays in customers waiting to speak to a representative or who expect a quick response when they submit a support ticket. One answer is the use of automated chatbots to address this problem.
As Business.com notes, a chatbot “can reduce your response time to one second and allow customers to connect with you 24/7, which enhances your relationship with customers and leads.” Obviously, “when a user can get their questions answered in an instant, they’re more likely to sign up, subscribe, and buy.”
Hiring New Talent
In 2021, as in years past, businesses are competing to attract and hire the best talent out there. But as any business leader knows, when a job opening is posted, their HR team is deluged with applications and requests for information from potential candidates. Coping with this usually entails a sizeable chunk of a company’s time, resources, and manpower.
With AI, the HR team can collect information over time that clarifies the most efficient and productive approach to hiring for the business. Machine learning algorithms “can determine which past hiring practices were the most effective,” notes Inc., along with informing recruiters “about the details of a candidate’s work history and his or her fit for a particular role.”
Every business has “built-in” processes that rely upon repetition and timing. Where many of these routine tasks were handled by employees in the past, now AI can dramatically improve the process in a number of areas.
For example, AI tools are available for arranging meeting schedules (and notifying those involved) by reviewing employees’ calendars. AI is also very useful in assembling departmental reports and in rudimentary accounting.
AI Apps Suggestions
Here are some of the most popular and highly rated apps in the area of AI. As with any new tool, business owners and CEOs should have their teams check out these apps to make sure they offer the best fit within the organization.
- Siri. Just about everyone knows about Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant. Its AI features include the use of voice queries and a natural language user interface to send text messages, respond to customer questions, and provide product or service recommendations.
- Apptivo. This Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is effective in helping businesses stay connected with “today’s remote and geographically dispersed work environment,” notes Entrepreneur. Primary features include “lead capture and conversion capabilities, sales tracking and the ability to customize apps.”
- Constant Contact. When it comes to building websites and email marketing, Constant Contact is a popular choice among organizations. It’s very useful in streamlining and automating tasks related to email marketing, as well as putting together a business website. Its range of services also includes social media marketing and advertising.
As the marketplace slowly begins to recover from the effects of 2020, businesses can make significant strides forward by adopting AI functions in its operations. And because the technology is always evolving, AI is steadily becoming more accessible to small businesses wanting to compete with larger organizations.