Five Opportunities for AI in Small Business

Rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are making the technology more accessible and applicable for small businesses. This is great news for small business owners who are eager to leverage big data to help grow their business. Here are five ways you can use AI to help grow your small business.

1. AI-Integrated Customer Support Solutions

Automated chat systems allow small businesses to scale their customer service efforts and free up resources required for more complex customer interactions.

In addition to answering increasingly specific customer questions using a database of insights, AI can also be used to triage customer inquiries, which reduces wait-times for customers looking for quick responses to basic questions, such as hours of operation or inventory information.

AI customer service solutions likeDigital Genius or ChattyPeople suggest or automate answers to incoming customer questions, classify help tickets, and direct inquiries or messages to the appropriate department. Leveraging AI in customer support processes helps reduce average handling time and improves the overall responsiveness of your customer service team.

2. AI in Marketing

Learning which marketing activities are delivering the highest return on investment is incredibly valuable for small businesses that want to maximize marketing budgets and focus resources on high-performing marketing strategies. With marketing activities spread over many different channels, however, it is incredibly time-consuming and challenging to monitor and analyze data across all media channels. This is where AI marketing solutions really shine.

AI-powered platforms like Acquisio help manage marketing operations across multiple channels, such as Google Adwords, Facebook, and Bing. Built in Montreal, this sophisticated machine-learning layer analyzes live campaign data using sentiment analysis algorithms and suggests a distribution of marketing activities that offers the best results. It automates regular bids and monitors overall marketing spend so that business owners can reduce time spent tracking marketing campaigns and focus on other areas instead.

3. AI Functionality in CRMs

What if there was a way to take your CRM — the central hub for all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers — to the next level and seamlessly mine valuable insights that can help manage interactions with current and prospective clients, and automate marketing and lead generation?

CRM platforms with embedded AI functionality can perform real-time data analysis to deliver predictions and recommendations based on your company’s unique business processes and customer data. For example, Salesforce’s Einstein AI can analyze client sentiments in recorded phone conversations, social media posts, emails, and customer reviews. In addition to evaluating customer feedback, it can also adjust marketing and lead generation activities based on insights gleaned from data analysis. Small business owners can benefit from informed sales and marketing strategies that use insights mined directly from their customer data.

4. Use AI to Track Competitors

It’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of industry trends and know what your competitors are doing. Unfortunately, time-strapped business owners are often too busy managing their own day-to-day operations to find time to review the competition. Here’s where AI can help.

Competitive analysis tools like Crayon track competitors using a number of different channels — websites, social media, and apps — and give business owners insight into any changes in competitors’ marketing strategies, such as price changes, subtle message modifications, and PR activities. Automated intel and analytics reports provide opportunities to adjust your company’s strategies based on your competitor’s product gaps, weaknesses, and strengths.

5. Make Light Work of Big Data

Considering the buzz about big data these days, it’s not surprising that small business owners are eager to reap the benefits of massive amounts of online and offline information to make informed, data-driven decisions that will ultimately grow their business.

The beauty of AI-powered tools for business is that they can be plugged into nearly every data-producing workflow and provide insights that are applicable and actionable.

AI business tools like Monkey Learn integrate and analyze data across different channels and perform time-saving analytics and reporting, such as:

  • Sentiment analysis and entity extraction in Google Sheets, CSV, and Excel data
  • Classification, tagging, and processing of customer support tickets and inbound emails
  • Analysis of product reviews and open-ended feedback in surveys and NPS

AI applications for small business are wide-ranging and plentiful. It’s getting easier for companies of all sizes to reap the benefits of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

What AI solutions would you like to integrate in your business? What data do you want to leverage more in business-development strategies?


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