How can Artificial Intelligence AI help your Small Business?

29/01/2018
How can Artificial Intelligence AI help your Small Business?

From customer service chat bots to virtual personal assistants, many of us now interact with artificial intelligence-powered software and tools on a regular basis. But aside from assisting with an online order or organising your appointments, what are the wider benefits of Artificial Intelligence AI for your business?

As hype continues to gather around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, we take a look at a few of the potential applications of the technology and how an understanding of certain software and online tools will soon become imperative for all businesses not just tech giants like Amazon and Facebook who are wanting to maintain a competitive edge.

Here’s what you need to know in order to turn your start-up or SME into a successful data-driven company.

Better understanding of target audience

Chances are you already have customer relationship management (CRM) systems and processes in place to manage your company’s interaction with current and potential customers across a range of channels such as email, phone and social media.

AI can take CRM platforms to the next level by providing businesses with a greater ability to understand customer needs, which in turn enables them to maximise lead generation, marketing automation and client retention.

For example, in 2016 CRM platform SalesForce launched Einstein AI to help small businesses analyse consumer sentiments and evaluate customer feedback in recorded phone conversations, emails, social media posts and customer reviews.

As a result of the findings, marketing and lead generation activities can be adjusted accordingly. Simply put: AI can reduce manual processes and save time by segmenting huge amounts of customer data into specific audiences and identifying qualified leads to pass over to sales teams.

Always-on customer service

Automating elements of customer service and support can save valuable time. Social media means that customers can comment on your products and services across more channels than ever and if they have a query or a complaint they expect to receive an immediate answer.

AI-powered chat bots can help here by quickly answering frequently asked questions and making sure any major problems are passed over to a real person to respond to. This efficient approach can help boost employee satisfaction and ensure everyone has time to focus on new and innovative customer solutions rather than responding to mundane requests.

In addition, AI tools to help with customer service can also track and record subtleties, which might not be obvious to a human. By capturing signals and analysing activity, AI can find correlations and sentiment in customer data. This can all be recorded on a dashboard where you can decide the appropriate next steps.

Smart data solutions

AI-ready tools can help with a whole range of business processes such as functioning as a sales assistant to identifying prospects you should follow-up with and reducing manual data entry so you can focus on closing deals instead.

It can also help with your accounting thanks to cloud-based platforms (such as Zero) that offer features such as automatic bank and credit card account feeds, invoicing, accounts payable, expense claims, fixed asset depreciation, purchase orders, and standard business and management reporting.

Companies can use AI to easily map out expenditure, without having to be tech-savvy or a whizz at coding. This in turn can help specific departments, such as marketing, review where to expend energy and money. For instance, if data shows that X Avenue has a low return of investment, they can focus their energy on Y Avenue.

Workflow automation coupled with business intelligence has the ability to save start-ups and SMEs time and money, all the while enabling them to stay competitive in the emerging data-driven economy.

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