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Best Uses of AI for Your Small Business

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If you think of robots bent on world domination when you hear the words “artificial intelligence,” then you need to retrain your brain; you are likely already using AI in ways you never even thought of. How does this work, you might ask? Well simply stated, programs are written with an awful lot of code involved. A wall of code is called a “monolithic model” when a program is being written. By breaking the monolith into smaller, more manageable bits called microservices, the bits can talk to one another to make the process go much faster. Technical talk aside, microservices can aid in AI, which can be an asset to your small business. 

Marketing and Getting to Know Your Audience

The best possible way to sell to your target market is to know it and to know it well. Sure, you could pass out customer surveys, but those take preparation and physical objects like a pen and paper. Plus, what customer really wants to stand there and fill out a survey? By using existing AI software, you can not only learn about customer’s interests but also their age, gender, type of work and hobbies, among other things. If you think that that’s a scary thought, remember that online marketing already works this way through microservices. Not a believer? Check out some of these microservices examples:

  • Amazon. It isn’t magic that all the items that are recommended to you on the first page are geared towards you and your personality; it’s clever AI that logs away what you’ve browsed for and actually purchased, stores these items in its memory and recommends other products that relate to it.
  • Netflix. The streaming giant knows how to figure out what kinds of movies and TV shows you might like (and does an eerily good job doing so!) by doing what Amazon does: Looking at what you’ve browsed for and actually watched, then makes very well-educated guesses based on it.
  • Facebook. This one might surprise you, but think about all the articles, posts, groups and pop-ups that you see while you’re updating your status. Is it magic or artificial intelligence doing its job?
  • Google. Have you ever been searching in the search bar only to have your question autocomplete before you finish typing it? More than a billion Google searches are made per day, which means that the software learns a lot in a very short amount of time and remembers the answers to commonly-made searches.

Customer Service

A growing business is a busy one, which can make it difficult to give customers the quality time they deserve. Similarly, your employees likely have a job to do that goes beyond answering customer questions and you might not be able to afford to hire more people quite yet. If your business is one that has a high volume of phone or email traffic, consider looking into AI services that can help resolve the most commonly-asked questions quickly, but without needing a human to speak to the client. Examples of this might include:

  • Chatbot services. These can be so handy and user-friendly to clients because they will often get the job done quickly. These are offered through texting services and web pages and clients are able to opt-out of them if they choose. However, the more you use them the smarter they become; AI services learn data through your responses to better formulate replies.
  • Automated emails. It’s nice to know that your comment or question was received when you write to a company, so have an automated service with bounce-back messages to customers: “Your order has been received,” “Thank you for sending us a question,” et cetera. 
  • Phone trees. These can be obnoxious, especially if you say or click on the wrong thing while you’re navigating, but they save a bundle of time and manpower as a business owner. Oftentimes people have a quick question that can be resolved in seconds, which is what makes a phone tree the ideal solution for such questions.
  • Scheduling. If your business relies heavily on making and keeping appointments, let a scheduling software do it for you. By allowing customers to do this themselves and picking times and dates that work best for them, all you need to do is expect their arrival and provide them great service.

Artificial intelligence is a handy tool in the business world and has the capacity to help yours grow. It’s not only billion-dollar industries that make use of AI, so in what ways might it help you and your small business?

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