Do you use Siri or Alexa? Are you given special recommendations when visiting shopping sites? Then you have been interacting with artificial intelligence for a while. Many small businesses are scared to venture into the world of AI because the potential capital outlay and the jobs that could be replaced by artificial intelligence.
But what is artificial intelligence?
According to the Oxford online dictionary, artificial intelligence is “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.” According to a report by PWC, there are four ways AI can be implemented into your business:
These are non-routine or routine tasks which have been automated. They are not new ways of doing things. There is no human intervention in this.
These are AI systems which help humans to make decisions or take actions. They are hard-wired systems and don’t learn from the interaction with humans.
This refers to AI systems which help humans to make better decisions. They continuously learn from there interactions with the team and environment.
This is an AI system that can adapt to different situations and make decisions with the intervention of humans.
Now that we have a better understand of AI and the different forms it comes in how can we use it to our advantage?
- Save time deciphering complicated data. The one advantage of AI systems is that it is able to save us time in processing data. You can use it to create reports and then make better decisions for your business based on those reports. One example is the use of Quill Engage which links up with your Google Analytics account to offer an easy to understand report on how your webpage is performing online. You can also use AI-enabled customer relationship platforms to analyse your customer data and get more insight on who they are and what they do. AI can also scan your social media pages and see what people think about your brand.
- Improve customer service. One of the best differentiating factors for a small business is the customer service they offer. You can improve this by having a chatbot on your website to answer the frequently asked questions or to direct your client to the ideal person in your organisation to answer their pain point.
- Increase your creativity. With AI systems taking over the mundane and repetitive tasks in your business. You and your employees will have more time to focus on ways to improve the business and to give special attention to your customers.
Before implementing an AI strategy into your small business there are three questions you need to answer:
- What business problems do you want AI to solve? You need to take a look at your business problems and assess which are a priority for you to fix. Then you need to see what AI solutions are available to solve these problems.
- What will the cost implication be? In the end it always comes down to the rands and cents. It is important to evaluate how much it will cost to implement your AI plan. You need to assess it from a time and money perspective.
- What are your internal capabilities? Another aspect to consider is what capabilities do you have and what are the gaps you may need to close. This could take some time to assess and overcome.
After you have asked these questions then you will be well on your way to taking advantage of AI to grow your business.
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