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Bringing the Benefits of AI to your Small Business



Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been bringing our readers up to date with the Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution, first with a basic outline of AI and how it is increasingly being adopted by businesses in order to solve a wide range of problems.  Last week we brought you some information on how small business owners are now able to harness the power of AI as it becomes more mainstream.  Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the first steps SMEs can take to jump on the bandwagon and bring AI into their business processes.

The first step is to familiarise yourself with the basic concepts of AI by looking at the information and resources available online.  There are online workshops that you can take advantage of to increase your knowledge of AI and ML (Machine Learning).

This should give you a good idea of how to begin to identify the business problems that you would like to solve using AI.  With the majority of SMEs still using pen and paper, Excel spreadsheets and fragmented data sets, AI could help to streamline processes, saving SMEs time and money.  A massive 120 working days are spent each year on administrative tasks that could easily be automated using AI.  This would lead to lower operating costs, fewer errors and increased productivity for small businesses.

SME owners can already take advantage of affordable AI tools for marketing activities in order to:

  • Generate new ideas by analysis competitors and keywords
  • Reach people who are similar to your most valued customers 
  • Understand conversations and automate repetitive process to help your customer service team to provide a rapid, real-time response to queries by using transcripts from previous interactions with a specific customer.
  • Connect your email, calendar and social media to find and keep your best customers by tracking the strength of your relationships.
  • Offer users a new way of interacting with our product via engaging conversational interfaces.
  • Use an AI assistant to do web analytics.

When it comes to the sales process, AI can be used to:

  • Make sales more effective by eliminating common mistakes in outbound sales.  You can use AI to analyse the effectiveness of each sales activity in your process, from emails and phone calls, to social media channels and even hand written notes.
  • Your business will be able to deliver a more personalised and predictive customer experience by prioritising opportunities that are most likely to convert.  Identifying competitor involvement, customer sentiment and company updates combine to lead to a smarter sales process.

With the additional automation and valuable insights provided by AI, you’ll have the tools necessary to make AI part of the daily routing for your business. 

For business owners who want to adopt AI but don’t have the time or knowledge necessary, there are free courses available.  Why not send your IT expert on one of these courses?  Your IT person is likely to already be familiar with tech terminology and how systems work – this sort of staff training will benefit the staff member as well as your business.