02 Jan

How Small Businesses Can Benefit from AI

How Small Businesses Can Benefit from AI

Artificial Intelligence has been one of the hottest topics in the field of technology in the past couple of years. The debate has been centered on its usability and the type of benefits it can offer. It’s a known fact that the big players such as Amazon and Microsoft have already invested substantially in developing the technology.

However, what needs to be seen, if these benefits could also help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Discussed below are some of the areas in which small businesses could benefit from AI.

Optimal Resource-Utilization

One of the significant issues faced by small businesses is the lack of sufficient resources. This scarcity of resources in critical verticals such as Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, etc., can be a huge setback, especially if they have to compete with big players in the market. Proper utilization of available resources could well be the difference between profitability and extermination for SMBs. Here is where AI can help, by ensuring optimal use of resources across various verticals.

  • Marketing: When it comes to Marketing, SMBs usually work on spreadsheets to collect and collate customers’ data. Running marketing campaigns and processing leads by manually tracking these spreadsheets can be a monotonous task that results in depletion of considerable resources. However, by automating the task through AI tools, small companies could be able to add efficiency and value to their marketing initiatives.

By 2020, the artificial intelligence market will surpass $40 billion.For instance, identifying the right segments of target audience providing maximum return on investment can be done much more easily by integrating the CRM with AI. Similarly, quarterly and annual sales forecasts, as well as predictions on weekly or monthly sales leads, could get much more accurate, which could help the management in optimal deployment of the marketing and sales resources.

  • Customer Service: Most queries from the prospects and customers are simple questions that are frequently asked. However, these trivial calls could add an extra burden on the call volume being handled by a small company’s contact center. Subsequently, there could be a shortage of resources when it comes to handling critical issues, which could leave the customers with a bad experience.

However, by deploying AI tools and chatbots, SMBs can track the type of query coming in through IVRs, and direct the simpler issues to the chatbots. On the other hand, issues those are complicated or require the expertise of qualified service personnel can be handled accordingly. Moreover, machine learning techniques can also be used to predict the time and duration having maximum and minimum call volumes, which could help in the optimal use of available resources.

  • Lead generation: Artificial Intelligence can be used to nurture and capture new leads through social media. The AI algorithms can be used to track prospects through their social networking activity. Personalized content can be targeted at them at a specific time to ensure they do not miss the new offers and discounts. Once their details are captured through simple forms, the new leads can be followed up by providing relevant comparisons with competing offerings, which would eventually convert them into customers. Further opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling can also be created through constant engagement.

AI algorithms can also be used to define the detailed buyer personas with much more accuracy. By taking these personas into account, unique product features can be used to generate targeted content that could encourage leads to respond positively. Analytical tools equipped with machine learning capabilities can be used to identify the right channels to match the content.

Minimizing Cost

By 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human.AI can be highly helpful in crunching huge volumes of data and derive valuable information from it. If performed manually, these tasks could require a considerable amount of resources, which in turn would increase the cost for the small business, and bring down the ROI. In the micro business environment, where even a minor decrease in returns can be disastrous, AI can prove to be a game changer. The technology would not only help in bringing down the overall cost of the process but could also add extra efficiency to it. Also, the valuable resources can be diverted towards more critical tasks such as innovation and improvements, which could help the SMBs in maximizing their growth and profitability.

Thus, AI can help small business face the usual challenges of optimally using their scant resources and budget while improving their computing capabilities. By helping them identify the right insights, they can also improve their chances of sustaining in the market and achieving continuous growth.

Key Takeaways

  • One of the significant issues faced by small businesses is the lack of sufficient resources, and it is the area in which AI can play a significant role.
  • By helping in optimizing the use of resources, AI can bring down the overall cost of the process and also add maximize the efficiency.