AI is seen by many small businesses as a futuristic formula that is out of their reach due to expense. AI is also seen by many small business owners as a potential loss of control by their business–as if AI will suddenly spring up from a computer and start shooting people a la the Terminator. However, AI is rapidly becoming affordable for small business owners as well as easier to integrate into the daily life of a small business.
Read on to discover how small businesses can use AI to boost their business growth.
Sales and Customer Service
Many small businesses benefit from outside and inside sales in order to grow their business. AI can benefit your sales in several different ways.
First, there are applications that can transcribe your representative’s sales calls, so you could use those calls as a teachable moment –praise those members of your sales team who are effective on the phone, and work with those members of your sales team who need to target their sales technique to maximize their sales. It may be that decreasing a salesperson’s ratio of talking vs. listening or even choosing different words when talking to a potential client can increase their sales potential.
AI can also work as an app to help small businesses generate leads that are specifically targeted for your business’ location and products. If you know your potential clients through the use of AI, you can then target them with ads, emails, sales and discount information. All of the additional information available through AI helps drive your business forward.
AI is also good for customer service after the sale. Use of voice AI-powered phone systems allows businesses to focus on those customers who need additional help with a product or service, or who have a problem. In many cases, AI phone systems can answer basic customer questions, or route the customer to the correct person who can answer questions or help the client problem solve.
This use of AI inspired phone service means that customers spend less time on the phone waiting for someone to respond, and customers feel they received personal attention.
Employees and HR
AI is a huge help to small business in many different areas of the employee work process. First, AI can be used for the employee onboarding process. Rather than have employees sit around their first few days of work waiting patiently to get the requisite information on insurance, ethics and sexual harassment, there are apps that allow your employees to fill out all required paperwork for taxes and business information online. In addition, employees can also watch the requisite videos from the comfort of their homes, rather than at the office.
Payroll and taxes can also be done via AI. Apps are available to upload information on employee time or salary, as well as sick leave or vacation time. Employees can then receive notification that their deposits have hit their bank accounts, and employers have a list of who was paid and when they were paid.
Employees who have questions about HR can use chatbots so that employees can ask questions or offer criticism. Many employees find it difficult to express their feelings about issues at the office to a human but could voice their concerns online. Chatbots could also be used to forward employee questions or concerns to HR so that issues can be resolved quickly.
Increasingly, marketing is done online. AI can help small businesses target potential customers who are searching for a particular product or service through identification of audience, which means businesses can specifically target those individuals who are interested in their product or service.
Not only can AI identify potential customers for your business, but it can also identify those customers with the same kind of searches on search engines, and send businesses lists of those customers who might also be interested in products or services. AI can sense patterns in the population that took humans hours or days to sift through.
In addition to finding new clients for the products or services from a business, business owners can also receive customer feedback via AI, so that if a customer really loves a product, the business could offer them similar products they might like as well. This notion of additional marketing has worked to make Amazon the giant it is.
Finally, when the business has a new product, marketing tools via AI can find and target the population who would benefit or enjoy the new product, as well as potential new clients who perhaps were not customers before because there was not a product that appealed or applied to them, but with the new product, businesses might be able to interest new clients in their new product, and they could also step up their marketing via offers and ads that could interest their potential new client in other products that they offer.
The client base for businesses is no longer just in the area where the business is located, but also around the country, and around the world, especially if the business fills a particular need. For example, Amazon, which began in a garage as a bookseller, became popular because it offered books from all over the world in one location, delivered to a customer’s doorstep, which no one else was doing at the time.
Small businesses make up the largest percentage of the businesses in the United States. More people are employed by small businesses than any other business type, which means that small businesses need all the help they can get in order to grow.
AI provides something small businesses desperately need: additional help to make their business grow faster. AI provides a small business with additional manpower without the business needing to hire personnel, much like an additional pair (or two or three) of hands can be helpful in any business. Why not take advantage of the technology AI can offer?
Author Bio: Being a senior business associate, Peter Davidson strives to help different brands and startups to make effective business decisions and plan effective business strategies. With years of rich domain expertise, he loves to share his views on the latest technologies and applications through his well-researched content pieces. Follow him on Google+ and Twitter.