Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a futuristic concept and many large corporations are using it to impact their sales and customer service. Small businesses should be following suite but AI can be overwhelming, complicated and intimidating leaving many owners wondering if they should adopt this technology. By adopting a strategic approach, small businesses can start reaping the benefits associated with AI.  

Small businesses should create a plan on how they could use AI to make their work easier. By setting specific goals, small businesses can discover how AI will be the best fit for their company. For instance, a restaurant business might look toward using an autonomous delivery vehicles or a company with difficult accounting might use AI to make the calculations easier.

1. Automation

Running a small business has a lot of things to remember in your day-to-day planning like paying bills, scheduling meetings, invoicing and planning travel. Artificial Intelligence is being used as a virtual assistant that can help you automate those mundane tasks. These assistants can help you stay organized and can be used by everyone in the office to stay on track. AI can also help you automate your marketing emails to send them at a particular time when they are most likely to be read. Automation will help your small business run more smoothly and help you take your mind off logistics and focus on the innovative side of things.

2. Accounting

Financial teams can start using Artificial Intelligence for tedious and repetitive data entry tasks. Traditional financial services can be performed by cross-functional teams that integrates AI. While AI cannot yet do all of your accounting needs, but it can help your team focus more on other financial strategies. As technology advances and more tools become available, AI will shift from just keeping track of the books to helping create ideas for long-term business decisions.

3. Customer Service

Chatbots for customer service can help guests find routinely asked questions without them having to dig around the website. By determining what customers are mostly likely going to ask about like “How late are you open?” or “Is this item in stock?” and writing scripts for the bots to assist them. AI is helping bots get better at recognizing what a customer wants and can be a useful interface for users interacting with your company. Using chatbots can reduce friction for customers allowing them to find their answers and make decisions easier. Chatbots can work well for 10 customers or 1,000 customers meaning the technology will grow with your business without costing you additional money.

4. Sales  

Artificial Intelligence can help businesses provide potential customers with new methods for testing products and services. For example, the cosmetic company Modiface offers potential customers the chance to turn their tablet into a mirror and test their new products without ever having to purchase.

Artificial intelligence can also help your small business with finding your target audience and determining sales numbers. AI can help you determine your which portion of your customers have the greatest expectation of return on investment so you can create advertisement campaigns to target their specific needs. AI can also help you predict your most important sale leads and the amount of sales in your pipeline before all the results are calculated. AI has the ability to search spreadsheets, track leads and find target audiences without you manually combing through all the information like you did in the past.

Artificial Intelligence has the ability to help you engage your customers which can lead to success and eventually be able to grow your business beyond the small startup you began with.

Even if your small business isn’t ready to deploy Artificial Intelligence, you should continue to watch the market. As you track the developments, you can see when innovations emerge that will benefit your business as well as follow the moves your competitors are taking with AI so you don’t fall behind.

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