In any business, process building, and management are crucial. As Rebekah Iliff writes in a great Inc. piece, “A.I. may seem complicated, but this attitude is mistaken and leaves you vulnerable to competitors.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s incumbent upon us as protectors of our businesses to do the research, the necessary work, that helps to grow and make the business better. Even if you’re like me and don’t have a computer scientist background.
So – what AI is out there to help us? What kind of software can I use to help my business? Let’s take a look.
AI Chatbots – More Common Than You Think
As Iliff references, small business accounts for more than half of net job creation and more than 40 percent of GDP in the United States. It stands to reason developers of AI solutions want their products to be available to these entrepreneurs. It’s this group that fuels this huge engine of economic activity.
AI-powered chatbots provide customer assistance 24/7, and also can answer questions from prospective customers, providing a revenue-generating opportunity for small businesses as well as the obvious customer service value-add.
Many small businesses can’t pay full-time staff to cover the phones and answer all emails, so this software is vital to the capture and timely response to all customer and prospect-related touchpoints.
A cool software example I found here is from the folks at Master of Code. The customer conversation can be passed from the bot to a human agent and stay in the bot experience the entire time. This is crucial because if an interaction does elevate to a place where human interaction is necessary, that transition to a live agent HAS to be smooth. I’ve seen plenty of live transfer situations in the past that are so botched, the center ends up ticking off the customer, or losing the call entirely.
Also Read: The importance of AI to Geospatial 2.0
AI-Driven Marketing and Data Optimization
One-size-fits-all marketing is (or has) become a relic of the past. Now and going forward, consumers are demanding personalized experiences, interactions, and a relevant customer service response tailored to them.
In an interesting post from Ariane Lindblom of Marketo, AI can help business owners enhance their marketing expertise, especially at a time when you might not be able to afford a dedicated marketing department.
Segmentation of your audience (customer) data and providing engaging content tailored just to that group is now possible at scale with AI. Predicting the right programs and messages for the right people. Personalizing those messages to create one-on-one marketing relationships is a reality for small business now.
Companies like Marketo have really cool applications that provide total solutions for B2B marketers (or small business owners that act as the marketer) to handle and engage with their data to provide those personal interactions with customers and prospects. The ROI that could happen on a spend of $1000-$2000/month could really have long-term benefits.
Again – It’s Gonna Take YOU
In my last article, I mentioned this, and I’ll throw it out there again. As the great Navy SEAL-turned-motivational speaker Jocko Willink loves to point out – You have to exercise Extreme Ownership over all things AI. You do this in the traditional aspects of your business and you need to here, if you haven’t begun the process already.
We’ve looked at a couple cool examples of software that can help you right now with two important processes in your business — customer service and marketing. What other processes can be assisted by AI in your business? What other companies are out there doing cutting-edge stuff for small business?
Think about how this kind of technology – and embracing it – can get you to the next level.