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While the large majority of business leaders agree that AI capabilities provide businesses with a distinct advantage over the competition, many of the smaller businesses are still holding back. After all, AI comes with a big price tag and requires a specific skill-set and job training that small businesses simply do not have the funds for.
As larger companies begin to adopt more and more AI and data-based technology into their daily practices, it is clear that smaller ones will soon fall behind. By the end of 2018, machines powered by AI will curate 20% of business content, and by 2020, 30% of businesses will make it their number one priority for future investments.
Small businesses may be concerned about the commitment of switching practices over to this fairly new and quickly changing technology. But, the pros far outweigh the cons. Small businesses that are looking to get the most bang for their buck when it comes to AI, so to speak, should seek to implement it into these four key areas.
1. Market Research
While most companies understand that measuring analytics and conducting research is necessary, there is a distinct benefit of using AI for this task. Studies have found that companies utilizing AI and big data in their analytical tools typically increase their profitability by 6%.
Because AI technology is able to process such large amounts of data in very little time, it makes the task of conducting market research must faster and more accurate than traditional methods. This means that small businesses can save valuable time and man hours (or woman hours) when strategizing for marketing plans or new ventures. Predictive analytics can be used in multiple ways to improve the efficiency of a small business. Most notably, it can be used to predict trends, forecast demand, reduce risk, and much more. All of which play vital roles in market research.
2. HR Automation
AI powered recruiting methods have the potential to completely change the hiring process for the better. 96% of recruiters agree that it improves retention and increases access to wider talent pools. Plus, it can automate the entire pre-qualification system, saving HR teams up to 14 hours a week!
Of course, AI can do more than just scan resumes. Some solutions use AI technology to narrow down candidates based on experience and relevancy, then gives the candidates personalized skill assessments to measure aptitude, personality qualities, and even likelihood of success in the available position. With access to important data like this, recruiters can make much more confident hiring choices.
Bringing strong talent onboard and reducing turnover is necessary for a small business to grow and succeed. In fact, businesses that use this technology have reported up to 300% higher quality hires, compared to their previous recruiting methods.
3. Customer Service
There are lots of chatbots tools available on the market, but for smaller businesses that may not be so tech-savvy, Chatty People is a great starting point. The system teaches users how to create their own chatbots for specific business needs, no coding required. These bots can be integrated with Facebook, Skype, and business websites. The analytical data is recorded for each customer interaction for ongoing improvements.
AI and chatbots go hand-in-hand when it comes to customer service capabilities. Not only does it lessen the load for your reps, it can also improve the customer experience overall. Chatbots provide instant responses, eliminating frustrating wait times for the customer. Chatbots can be programmed to answer FAQ’s, address basic technical issues, and even help shoppers with purchase recommendations.
4. Network Assistance
While using an AI for daily tasks typically left to a receptionist or assistant sounds a bit futuristic, it is actually a huge time and cost savor small business owners. Chase recently interviewed small business owners who had made the switch, and they happily reported that it saved them quite a bit of time, and 80% of business executives believe that this kind of AI tech relates directly to productivity boosts.
While Siri and Alexa technically fall into the category of a virtual assistant, Amy from X.aiholds more practical use for busy business owners. Amy handles daily correspondence emails and coordinates schedules and meeting times automatically. The system is even smart enough to recognize potential delays and will update meeting times accordingly.
While the small administrative tasks never seem like much, the time can add up faster than you think. That being said, an AI system can be a huge help.
Over to You
Integrating AI tools, surprisingly, is simpler than it sounds, and the positive benefits from this technology should offset any fears. With four major areas that can see major improvements with a little AI, small businesses have nothing to fear.