Just the term artificial intelligence (AI) can make the head spin of a small business owner. Many are just beginning to figure out how to understand financial statements, and all of a sudden they should be incorporating AI into their business plan. If you take a step back and think what AI really is in its simplest sense, you may be already using it. Case in point; Amazon’s Alexa. Thousands of consumers are using this type of AI to perform digital assistant functions at home. This can of course also be beneficial to your small business. Let’s look at some of the ways you can utilize this technology.
Virtual Assistant: In a manner similar to the use of Alexa at home, AI can be incorporated for use as a virtual assistant to help you manage daily tasks, such as tracking people for a meeting, following up on emails, and generally helping you stay on track. Collaboration software can make these logistic resources available to your entire team, like tracking time and daily status reports. It will be interesting to see how virtual assistant companies, particularly those overseas, react to and utilize this type of artificial intelligence. One imagines at first that these so-called “bot” tasks will lend themselves to certain types of activities, while a human VA may still be necessary for more specific tasks.
Improve Sales Performance: Think about taking the skills and tactics of your best salespeople and transferring them to the rest of your sales staff. AI can transcribe calls for company sales reps and then enable a comparison of the strategies used by the most successful sales reps with the rest of the company. These types of platforms analyze variables like word choice, and the amount of time spent talking or listening. The sentiment of the call is analyzed and passed on to the rest of the staff in hopes of increasing sales and bettering customer relations.
Accounting and Finance Solutions: From Wall Street investment banking to the Big 4 accounting firms, speculation is that at some point in the near future artificial intelligence will replace many humans at these positions. The accounting aspect is that which can be appealing to small businesses. Consulting firm Accenture predicts that 30 to 50 percent of traditional shared services roles, including those in finance, will disappear over the next five years because of artificial intelligence resources. Those of you still in college need to plan accordingly. AI can help manage expenses, record your receipts, and simplify cash flow. All laborious tasks that are prone to human error.
Customer Feedback: The lifeblood of business is the relationship with the client. AI has made it possible to categorize customer sentiment by taking the raw feedback and organizing it in a useful manner. These type of bots can interpret customers’ written feedback to review their satisfaction, identify trends, and anything else impacting the customer experience. This is a tremendous tool that will help you better understand your business.
Technical Expertise: Unless you have the talent in-house, most small businesses contract out their web creation to freelancers. WordPress and the like have become incredibly robust and the cost to create is really next to nothing. However, AI is looking to change this arena as well. Programs will allow you to input data about your business, and the bot will produce a myriad of combinations and will present you with options for a unique site. Pretty good stuff.
Jump on this artificial intelligence wave and take your business to new heights. The barriers to entry such as cost and advanced computer knowledge are becoming less and less each day. This could be a true game changer for your company.