14.10.2021 13:30

How to Leverage AI to Grow Your Business

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Everyone knows that small business owners are usually juggling dozens of different things at once. Whether it’s crunching numbers, preparing launches, wooing new clients, checking in with suppliers, keeping on top of admin or resolving staff-related issues, it’s amazing that they ever find the time to work on developing core activity or coming up with innovative new ideas.

However, help is at hand. While the words “Artificial intelligence” feel futuristic, AI is no longer the preserve of large companies with huge R&D departments and extensive funds dedicated to keeping one step ahead when it comes to technological advances.

Innovative AI-based software solutions use machine learning (the practice of employing algorithms to examine data, interpret it and then use it to make predictions) to automate key aspects of business management, collect and interpret large quantities of information and drive informed decision-making. And while this is already significant, it’s not the only advantage: by enabling staff to carry out tasks in a few minutes rather than several hours – or even days – AI enables businesses to save not only time, but money.

There is no doubts that your business is going to get disrupted by data, analytics and AI trends.

Here are several ways in which artificial intelligence can make a huge difference to your small business:

If you want to grow your business, you want to deliver an outstanding customer service and the growth of AI is changing the customer support experience greatly. To do so, knowing the customer journey is important. Thanks to data you'll be able to know your customer journey and grow your business.

You’re no doubt familiar with chatbots, which tend to pop up asking you if you need help with anything within seconds of you arriving on a homepage. They may seem like a relatively new invention, but the truth is chatbots in one form or another have been around since the dawn of time – well, the 1960s. While attempting to converse with a machine through human language only a few years ago could quickly get surreal (or downright maddening), today’s AI-powered chatbots are able to understand complex requests, personalise responses and, via machine learning, improve the relevance of their answers over time.

AI to Help with Customer Service WomanWhat does this mean for your business? Well, the most obvious advantages of having an army of well-programmed chatbots at your command are their ability to eliminate wait times, accurately answer customer queries and provide 24/7 service. For smaller businesses that don’t have large support teams available to handle every question that crops up round the clock, they’re a true asset. But what many people don’t realise is that today’s AI-powered chatbots are also able to provide valuable follow-up customer engagement and outbound digital marketing.

They are relatively easy to set up, even for those with little tech know-how, and can integrate with existing messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Viber, or Facebook Messenger. When you take into account that messaging apps now boast over 5 billion monthly users, it makes sense to bring your users amazing customer service within the apps they use every day.

Do you want to deliver outstanding customer service to your customers? Do you want a cost-effective way to do it? With the use of AI you will improve your customer service performance in no time.

It Can Boost Your Conversion Rate

Think about how people interacted with companies throughout most of the 20th century: on the phone, in person and through the post. And that was basically it.

Nowadays, as any harassed-looking marketing lead will tell you, there is a myriad of ways for a potential client to get in touch with a business, including phone calls, email, social media, messaging apps… A lot to keep track of. And that’s where artificial intelligence comes in. What AI is really good at is analysing data from multiple sources and pulling it together to determine trends and make recommendations, which is why artificial intelligence and customer relationship management can make for a very powerful combination.

While the CRM software of the past usually had little more to offer than a prospect’s contact information and a history of interactions, AI-enhanced solutions are able to build a far more complex and detailed profile using different data sources such as social media profiles, job history and all interactions with the company leading up to that point.

Sales people are usually very good at one thing: sales.

That’s what they’re paid for, not to sift through pages and pages of Twitter conversations or a user’s website browsing history looking for that one clue that will help them sign a major client. By using predictive lead scoring based on AI, staff can make informed decisions and ensure that they dedicate their time to leads with high conversion potential.

It Can Find the Right Hires for Your Company

Letting an algorithm handle large quantities of personal data and play a part in major hiring decisions may seem risky at first. But the same data-sorting abilities that make artificial intelligence a huge ally when it comes to customer management can also play a part in facilitating the hiring process.

AI can mean considerably reduced recruiting timelines by helping HR staff sift through piles of CVs and online job profiles. While for smaller businesses that don’t hire all year round dedicated human resources software may feel like overkill, it’s more than just a time-saver. 

Yet again, AI’s capability to take into account multiple data sources, such as social media profiles and online job records, help build up a thorough candidate profile that ensures you choose the right person. It’s also an efficient way to eliminate stereotypes related to gender, race or age and shortlist candidates that are technically suited to the position at hand.

Beyond the initial hiring process, small business without the resources for a full-time HR person also benefit from AI tools that help gauge employee satisfaction and gather feedback. Some tools also provide personalised employee onboarding that will streamline the whole process of welcoming a new colleague. Artificial intelligence can further be used to manage annual leave, team training and performance evaluation.

It Takes the Hassle Out of Accounting

AI Accounting Finance Artificial IntelligenceAI-based accounting software has the advantage of keeping both business owners and accountants happy. Back in paper-based times, managing small business accounts was a time-consuming and intricate process that drove just about everyone crazy: business owners and staff, who were constantly carrying around wads of receipts in their wallets, spending hours on manual data entry and struggling to get everything done in time for tax season, and their accountants, who were forever chasing up clients for that one essential supporting document.

AI enables far greater accuracy, very little staff input and far smaller risk of human error, no initial investment, 24/7 access to data and huge savings in costs and staff time. Beyond the obvious time-saving aspects, accountants have access to high-quality data in which to ground client guidance and strategic decisions. Accenture reckons that by 2020, 80% of traditional financial services will be delivered by cross-functional teams working with AI. And with more and more affordable AI-based accounting solutions on the market, why wouldn’t you get your business on board as soon as possible?

It Helps You Create Great Marketing Campaigns

Although it can seem like a bit of a contradiction in terms, artificial intelligence can help you really get to know your customers and gain a deeper understanding of their needs and expectations. AI solutions look at a customer’s previous behaviour in order to deduce how they would react to a given offer, with clothing and cosmetics retailers being a particularly good example of how to make use of this technology.

While the product recommendations of yesteryear were heavily based on a user’s search history and didn’t really bring that much to the user experience, today’s AI-powered solutions draw on a variety of sources and bring chatbots into the mix in order to provide a truly tailored experience. The Japanese retailer Uniqlo for example has the “digital concierge” Uniqlo IQ built into its smartphone app, which interacts with users via a chatbot to point them towards the products they’re looking for, provide personalised recommendations and help them find the closest brick-and-mortar store with products in stock.

Likewise, the cosmetics brands Sephora and Estée Lauder make use of AI-based Facebook Messenger chatbots to carry out research into customer preferences via entertaining experiences such as quizzes and the chance to try out products through augmented reality. AI-powered email solutions also help make unwanted marketing emails a thing of the past by ensuring customers only receive timely messages containing offers and discounts that are highly tailored to their tastes and their needs at a given time.

If you want to automate your marketing, We recommend you check these 7 tools.

Start leveraging AI to grow your business

By automating time-consuming procedures that ate up working hours back in the day and enabling savvy decision-making grounded in accurate real-time data, AI tools provide smaller businesses with the edge they need to be truly competitive.

Ready-made AI platforms that are relatively easy to implement and integrate every aspect of running a business – support, customer relationship management, human resources, finances and marketing and sales – ensure a seamless user experience and help you gather high-quality data.

But AI isn’t just a way to make day-to-day business management easier for you and your team. It’s also a great tool for creating seamless experiences that encompass every aspect of the customer journey, from initial contact to engagement and support, helping you set up durable relationships that are grounded in detailed knowledge of your clients’ needs and expectations. And satisfied customers are the key to growing any business – big or small.

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