Guest post by Michael Deane.
Using AI to automate and advance business processes is no longer a privilege of the rich and strong – even small businesses can now afford powerful AI tools to earn themselves a competitive edge over their competitors.
And even though many business owners dismiss such solutions, fearing they are too challenging or complex for their small teams to handle – nothing can be further from the truth. AI tools are now accessible to a broad range of businesses, and their adoption can be the difference whether a small business will stay competitive on the market, or fall behind so hard that it might never recover.
Here is why small businesses can’t afford to ignore this revolutionary technology any longer.
1. Better Data Insight
The use of AI tools gives businesses a chance to finally base their decisions on accurate and relevant information.
AI can now gather vast amounts of data from various sources, but the data it collects is massive and usually unstructured, almost impossible for humans to comprehend and let alone interpret.
However, Artificial Intelligence is capable of analyzing large amounts of unstructured data; it can also spot patterns and identify meaning in them.
61% of business executives who have defined AI strategies say that AI can be used to single out opportunities using data. They can now use information AI provides to learn more about the outputs of their actions, and make data-based predictions.
To illustrate this better – UPS was able to save 10 million gallons of fuel annually by using AI and big data to optimize their routes.
Even small businesses can now use AI to draw meaningful conclusions from more modest amounts of information. AI-powered tools can, for example, help small businesses learn more about their customers and discover new ones. They can now collect vital information, such as their customers’ preferences and habits, as well as perform sentiment analysis.
2. Improve Sales and Marketing
For sales and marketing campaigns to be effective, small businesses need to set clear business goals and define a detailed strategy.
With all the data it gathers on customers, AI can take your business to a whole new level. You can now have a comprehensive insight into who your customers are and create meaningful content just for them.
However, AI goes beyond providing useful data for sales and marketing campaigns. Small businesses can now use AI-powered email automation clients to target specific segments of their audience with their offers and personalize the copy they send, as such emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates. Also, AI can automate email campaigns by sending emails that are triggered by subscribers’ activity or inactivity and adjusting campaigns in real-time.
Using AI-based advertising platforms, such as Facebook or Google, smaller businesses can now reach a much wider audience, receptive to their messages.
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems that integrate data from different channels, such as email, telephone, and social media can help small businesses further improve and automate their sales processes.
3. Use AI to Better Serve Your Customers
AI can make a real difference when it comes to the quality of the customer support your business is offering, and thus, can significantly impact customer satisfaction and your bottom line.
One of the most common and most beneficial applications of AI in customer support are conversational chatbots. These chatbots are now capable of managing 80% of the customer queries successfully. These AI-powered chatbots are available 24/7, and they can communicate in a polite, friendly, and human-like manner.
Chatbots can answer multiple customers’ queries instantly, without frustrating callers by putting them on hold.
Another great advantage of AI-powered chatbots is that they have access to all the previous touchpoints between businesses and their consumers. This way, their interaction with customers is hyper-personalized.
To learn more about chatbots & Conversational AI, download our free e-book here!
4. Streamline Hiring and Onboarding
AI has also found its way into the HR sector, making it easier for small businesses to better recruit, screen, select, and onboard their employees. AI can smoothly go through hundreds of applicants for the position you’re hiring, and narrow down your search to only the ones that fit your requirements, thus saving a significant amount of your resources.
But not only that – based on their online presence, AI can also determine what candidates would be the best cultural fit for your company, making sure that your new hires will be engaged at work and more productive. AI-powered chatbots can also be helpful when it comes to communicating with your applicants, as they can let the candidates know about the status of their application, and answer their questions.
Various AI-powered tools can be used to onboard new employees and provide them with the necessary information and training.
5. Insight Into Competitors’ Business Process
If you want to stay competitive on the market, you need to have an insight into all the current trends, as well as the business processes of your competitors. Small businesses can easily achieve this goal by using AI-powered analytic software. Such tools will let you know if there are any rapidly growing competitors on the market that could pose a potential threat to your company.
Furthermore, they can monitor whether certain companies are expanding their offers with competitive products or services, and keep track of your main competitors’ activities using all available channels, such as websites, web applications, and social media channels.
Having such information as soon as it’s available can help you make better-informed decisions and allow you to always be one step ahead.
6. Cost and Time Benefits
With all the factors we mentioned above, AI can significantly save your small business some of its most valuable resources, such as time, money, and energy.
A single conversational chatbot that will answer the most common queries can take the burden off your customer reps’ shoulders, and leave them with more time and energy to handle more complex tasks, where their expertise and critical thinking is needed. Since you wouldn’t have to take on new hires to be able to address the growing demands of your customers, it will also help you reduce the operational costs.
AI-powered tools can automate many time-consuming, menial tasks, thus boosting the productivity of your employees. At the same time, they will eliminate human error and all its associated costs.
If you’re still not using AI to improve your business processes, consider which solutions would fit your current needs the most, and try to keep your small business ahead of your competition.
Michael Deane has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.