by Sydney Stone
AI technology is having a major impact on every industry, especially when it comes to automation. Retailers are now using AI-enhanced chatbots to respond immediately to customer questions and suggest additional products. Major breakthroughs are happening in healthcare because of machine learning applications that are finding new treatments and cures for disease. Manufacturing and e-commerce have revolutionized their supply chains with AI-backed automation, increasing the speed of delivery as well as keeping customers updated on shipping and delivery times.
Of course, artificial intelligence can be controversial. Aside from the “machines replacing humans” fear that many people have, a lot of businesses are nervous about how AI could affect their business processes and overall workflow. And startups and small businesses might not have the money or resources to incorporate the technology. But none of these concerns should outweigh the fact that AI is the future of business. At some point, everyone will need to adapt.
Here are some of the many ways AI can transform your business, as well as a few risks to avoid.
There are numerous ways industries are implementing artificial intelligence through automation. Retail stores are “wowing” customers with robots that deliver items to fitting rooms via smart mirror technology. Marketing teams are using artificial intelligence for targeted campaigns to reach the right customer with the right message at the right time. And e-commerce sites are increasing their average sale price with programs that know precisely which additional items to suggest at checkout.
The power and precision of artificial intelligence combined with the speed and efficiency of automation is not just a win-win for businesses. It’s a magic bullet.
Today’s consumer demands instant gratification and instant customer service. AI-enhanced chatbots are making it easy for businesses of any size to provide this level of service.
Chatbot development has become so advanced that consumers can barely distinguish between a bot and a human. And in most cases, they would rather deal with a bot. That’s because chatbots provide instant answers, are incapable of being rude, and are available 24/7. Chatbots also reduce the need for expensive call centers staffed with a large number of people.
Another way AI is improving customer service is through personalized shopping recommendations. By studying previous buying behavior, internet search terms, and even GPS location technology, companies with AI-enhanced apps make it easier and more convenient for consumers to buy more from them.
Recruiting and retaining employees is one of the areas in which companies spend the most resources. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to hire the right people. The combination of AI and automation is helping to change that.
According to Ideal, companies utilizing AI-enhanced recruiting software reduced their cost per screening by 75% and their employee turnover by 35%. These same companies also experienced a 4% increase in revenue per employee.
From automated resume screening solutions such as Skeeled to employee coaching and mentoring powered by IBM’s Watson at MentorCloud, artificial intelligence is giving humans more resources. It is also helping companies meet diversity-in-hiring goals by reducing biases through solutions such as GapJumpers. Recruiters are even using AI-enhanced chatbots to pre-screen candidates.
We live in a big data world. We have more information available to us now than at any other time in history. Of course, all of this info is only useful if we know how to benefit from it.
AI-enhanced forecasting and prediction solutions are helping companies understand their customers better while improving business practices. Solutions such as Salesforce’s Einstein can optimize your sales pipeline.
Data mining has become a niche tech-trend altogether, with industries such as banking, healthcare, and education all benefiting from AI analytics for forecasting and modeling.
Practical examples of predictive analysis at work include lead scoring based on buyer behavior and online activity and healthcare plans for patients based on family history and probability of future disease.
Knowing your customer is one of the most important aspects of business success. Artificial intelligence can help you know your customers even better than they know themselves.
AI gives you the ability to analyze your customers’ buying habits and personality traits through web search activity, GPS mobile tracking, social media postings and more. Now you know exactly how, when, and where to reach your customers with the right message at the right time. With AI-enhanced apps, you can send retargeting ads or special offers when a customer is close to one of your brick-and-mortar locations.
Personalization is another benefit to using artificial intelligence in marketing. Marketo’s predictive content solution can help you fine-tune & personalize your marketing outreach, upsell customers during checkout, and suggest additional items according to previous purchases or internet search terms.
The risks of artificial intelligence
Sure, artificial intelligence is exciting and can provide a huge boost to your bottom line when implemented correctly. But the technology doesn’t come without challenges.
If you’re itching to implement AI, carefully consider the following risks before making any final decisions.
As stated previously, we are definitely living in a big data world. However, sometimes there might not be enough of a certain type of data for AI to work with, or the quality of the data coming in may be flawed. For machine learning to be truly beneficial, it requires the right data in order to make predictions.
If you don’t have high-quality and abundant data sources, you’re probably not going to reap the real benefits of artificial intelligence.
You may love the idea of adding AI to your business processes, but you might not have experienced staff that can use it correctly. Not all companies can afford to hire high-level data scientist or machine learning experts, and even if they can, the pool of talent to choose from is limited.
It’s important to look at the process of implementing AI holistically and plan its deployment strategically. By either having your in-house development team get the training they need way ahead of time or working with a dedicated development partner highly skilled in AI and machine learning, you can overcome the skills gap.
Security is a top priority no matter what type of new technology. AI adds more worries when it comes to customer privacy concerns. Consumers are afraid of hackers. A lot of consumers are equally afraid of artificial intelligence.
With more and more cyber-attacks, phishing scams, data ransoming, and other types of breaches happening on a daily basis, you as a business owner have to be even more diligent in your security procedures. And you have to communicate to your customers how you are going to protect them when adding new technology.
Hackers are adapting to new types of security. Some are even developing their own artificial intelligence programs and applications to steal other people’s data.
If you do choose to add AI to your current product or solution, be prepared for some push-back and angst from your customers. Have a plan in place to educate them before implementation, listen to their feedback, and act accordingly.
Eventually, artificial intelligence will be embedded in all software solutions and will be as common and accepted as the internet itself. If you are thinking of implementing AI in your business, it’s best to start with a thorough review of your current processes to determine where the technology would be the most beneficial.
You can certainly start small by adding a customer service chatbot on your website or using an AI-powered analytics solution to help with planning and forecasting. The point is that you don’t have to immediately add a new product to your business plan just because it’s the latest trend. Do your due diligence, learn everything you can about the new technology, and then you will be able to reap the rewards.