Artificial intelligence has quickly become the most talked-about technology in the world today, and its rapid growth continues in paradigm shifts. Naturally, this has led to a spate of questions and concerns over how AI will impact the workplace, and how it can best be utilized alongside human workers. For small businesses, the question is especially important, as proper use of AI can drastically reduce costs, and accelerate business growth far quicker than reliance on traditional methods.
Understanding AI is the first step in knowing how to properly inject it into your small business. There are, after all, strengths and weaknesses attached to the technology, much the same as any other. Proper understanding of both can help you determine where, when, and how you should use AI to streamline operations and achieve profitability at a faster rate.
AI IS NOT A PERMANENT SOLUTION (YET)
The AI industry is accelerating rapidly with paradigm shifts in research and development. What used to take years to achieve this kind of growth can now be accomplished in mere months, which begs the question – is AI ready to become a permanent addition to your small business? At this point, AI functions mostly as an accompanying tool to streamline data processing, provide quick solutions to certain problems, and cut down on the time required to complete certain tasks.
It is not, however, a permanent solution at this point in time. The day will come when AI is able to automate many traditional workplace tasks, but those days are yet to come. This current era in AI technology is something of a testing platform to see just how relevant and reliable it can be in the workplace. And indeed, AI is certainly making waves for small business owners and large corporations alike. However, don’t expect to turn your entire set of operations over to artificial intelligence right now. We’re still not quite there.
AI FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE
Small businesses live or die on the quality of their customer service, which means prioritization is an absolute must. In this area, AI can benefit your small business by either regulating customer service duties, or improving on your existing framework. For instance, research has shown that AI was able to accurately read, analyze and refine the approach of customer service agents when dealing with their customers. This led to a substantial increase in the amount of customer service chats agents were able to respond to every hour, while simultaneously teaching less-skilled agents better ways to improve their conversations.
AI can also automate chatbots, which are commonly used to answer customer questions in an effective manner, or else redirect them to an actual human agent if more help is required. The greater AI becomes, the more effective chatbots will be, allowing existing customer service agents to help more people at a much faster rate.
AI FOR EMAIL AND WRITTEN CONTENT
While AI has come a long way in being able to simulate the conversational tone of a human being, it has yet to be widely implemented as a replacement for certain types of written content such as Email blasts, blogs, and the like. This is due to a simple fact – AI is not cognizant of its own existence, nor does it have any feelings of its own. However, when properly tweaked, the gap between AI and human feels far less wide, making it effective for small businesses who need to produce a lot of written content en masse.
In this particular medium, it’s best for small business owners to understand that AI is a supplement, rather than a replacement. Since AIs are essentially large data-gathering platforms, they can only draw upon the information they acquire, and create a written piece of content with a conversational tone. This usually results in a lack of nuance, character and the “human factor” commonly associated with the strengths of a human writer. However, that doesn’t mean AI can’t be of enormous benefit. When it comes to gathering information on a particular topic, it can be invaluable. Just remember to pad and expand its final content with some humanistic flair.