How to Leverage AI to Grow Your Business
Science fiction authors imagined artificial intelligence (AI) using its superior computing power to conquer humanity. Lucky for us, that hasn’t come to pass (yet!). Instead, what we have is so much better: helpful AI capable of automating many key tasks involved in running your business.
AI might initially seem like a complex topic. However, by identifying the operational elements where time or revenue is lost, you can isolate exactly what sort of AI you require to help your business grow.
Marketing & Sales
One area in which artificial intelligence particularly shines is predictive analysis. By accumulating and rapidly processing huge amounts of data, AI can create accurate predictions to guide the future of your business in the right direction.
The many uses of predictive analysis include:
- Creating more accurate sales forecasts for future quarters and projecting reasonable, reachable goals
- Identifying the relative value of leads, and selecting which leads should be prioritised
- Analysing sales calls and pitches and highlighting which words, phrases and attitudes customers best respond to
- Comparing your prices to those of competitors and selecting optimal points for price adjustments and discounts
With AI, routine tasks involving poring over endless spreadsheets have become more efficient and accurate than ever before. Whereas human predictive analysis is inevitably marred by inaccuracy, guesswork and emotion, AI relies solely upon objective, empirical data. By utilising the above options, business owners can remove much of the previously frustrating mystery of the future.
Another beneficial application of AI is in customer-facing positions. Artificial intelligence can be used to recommend products, answer routine queries, and direct customers to human employees when more complex problems arise.
The most common form of AI customer support is chatbots. These appear on your business’s Web site and chat with customers using an interface similar to Skype or Messenger. You can supply the chatbot with a script which addresses frequently asked questions regarding hours, prices, shipping, and return policies.
In the case of more difficult issues, such as damaged products, the chatbot is also capable of alerting a human employee and passing the customer “along the chain”.
AI is also excellent at encouraging customers to view similar products based on their purchases. Companies such as Amazon have begun using AI to generate “related products” or “you might also like” lists targeted to each customer. These can dramatically increase sales and revenue.
While AI cannot eliminate the need for a human resources department entirely, it can lighten their workload significantly. Similar to the customer-facing chatbots, AI can be created to answer common employee queries regarding leave, payroll, and other company policies.
Artificial intelligence can also assist with the initial phases of the hiring process. You can highlight desirable traits and qualifications, and the AI will rapidly sort through hundreds of applications while targeting these keywords. While you should still make final hiring decisions yourself, AI can assist new employees with filing onboarding paperwork and scheduling any necessary training.
And So Much More!
The examples above are just a brief glimpse into all the ways artificial intelligence can help your business grow. You will soon find that AI exists for nearly every purpose you could think of.
AI to manage your inventory and shipping schedule? How about AI that prevents cyber-crimes by flagging unusual transaction patterns? Or even a bot which translates contract “legalese” into something actually understandable? Yes, they’re all real! Artificial intelligence is truly the key to eliminating lengthy, repetitive tasks and focusing your attention on the areas of your business which need it the most.
By taking a course in AI for business (here’s a good one), you will have a much firmer grasp of the subject, and be able to envision your upcoming steps in the industry. Find one that best fits your interests, and don’t forget that in order to get where you want to be in life, you should never stop learning.
Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.