Depending on your point of view, artificial intelligence (AI) is something to be feared or wholeheartedly embraced. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. AI is a tool that has become embedded in most aspects of our lives. These “machine brains” are used daily to manage functions that humans previously performed. While machines can process and gather information faster than humans, they can only perform a task once it is programmed.
Every company, including small businesses, uses AI in some capacity to process information and expand capabilities. A prime example is customers who search for a chainsaw on a Hardware store’s website. You train your website to respond by showing assorted chainsaws from manufacturers like Stihl, DeWalt, Milwaukee Tools, and Makita. You can also teach it to change to watering equipment or garden tools in the spring selling season to attract gardening enthusiasts.
Websites must be programmed to communicate the specific information the hardware store wants the customer to read and view. In other words, a person is required to program AI to think the way the store owner wants it to. Imagine the possibilities for fall seasonal promotions or Christmas sales. How small businesses use AI can become more complex when extracting data from various sources of information. Searching customer databases to determine their purchase history and product preferences can be quickly performed while adhering to specific pre-determined parameters.
Small -to mid-size business owners often think using AI in their operations is unaffordable, and big business primarily uses the technology. Yet, protecting your systems against digital threats posed by hackers requires being proactive to prevent data from being stolen. AI cybersecurity software searches for unusual activity to alert businesses before an attack happens. It can also check for irregularities in the business’s accounting and inventory that may indicate theft.
However, substantial orders or mysterious purchases by specific customers can also be an opportunity to market products to new clients. For example, selling metal tubing to artists and wood to furniture makers if your business is located near a community of artists opens up a world of possibilities.
Improves Customer Service
We are familiar with chatbots and how AI has been integrated into customer service. It can take several automated voice prompts before customers are connected to a person. This process is especially true when contacting the company after business hours. Initially, AI was met with a resounding cry of disapproval from consumers. But people are now accustomed to the technology. Businesses like AI because it is efficient and reduces costs. The goal is for humans and robots to share responsibility for delivering an exceptional customer experience. Chatbots can answer simple questions and handle many routine tasks, while humans can handle complicated questions and unusual situations.
- Anticipate questions before they are asked.
- Offer assistance to customers while they are driving.
- Determine if customers should be redirected to receive human assistance
- Consistently provide accurate information when correctly programmed
Small businesses operate with a lean staff and few layers of management. It’s critical to avoid breakdowns in communication and to deliver timely messages. AI can complete various tasks, like writing emails and creating spreadsheets. The technology can also adjust the tone of the message based on the issue being addressed.
- Transform documents into presentations
- Write meeting agendas based on history
- Learn correct methods of writing based on suggestions for your work
Provides Consumer Insights
Learning everything you can about what customers expect from your business is good. AI can analyze data to help companies better understand their customers over extended periods. Many software programs and providers can offer AI solutions that can streamline processes and add value to your business. Technology can be seamlessly incorporated into your business model without compromising your employee’s ability to deliver exceptional service.