Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly evolving technology that is having a major impact on businesses of all sizes.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are no exception, and there are many ways that AI can be used to improve operations and bottom line.
According to the Harvard Business Review, small business can win with AI;
“With its capability to automate processes and personalize experiences, AI, including platforms such as ChatGPT, has become an invaluable asset for businesses of all sizes. For small businesses, AI offers three strategic advantages to enhance customer service, strengthen marketing and sales, and drive growth”.
In this article, we will explore these benefits and examine what the future holds for SMBs and looking to use AI.
An extra pair of hands
One of the greatest advantages of AI is its ability to automate repetitive and mundane tasks.
Many businesses are now using AI-powered chatbots that can handle customer inquiries and support. You’ll have noticed that many businesses are now deploying chatbots; Woolworths, banking institutions, even local busy doctors’ surgeries are now using AI-powered chatbots to handle customer inquiries, support, and appointment creation.
Customer service is a crucial aspect of any business, and AI can take it to the next level. By adding AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots to your website can provide round-the-clock support. As they say, ‘your website is your only 24-hour sales team’.
Should it suit your business model and customer approach, this technology can streamline your operations and free up your staff to focus on more important tasks and means your customers will enjoy timely and consistent service, even if you have limited resources.
Know your customers
AI can analyse vast amounts of customer data and deliver a business valuable insights and trends. This means you can truly understand your customers’ preferences, behaviours, and buying patterns -especially helpful if you’re in the product/e-comm trade.
These insights can help SMB’s create personalised marketing campaigns (even if you don’t have a marketing team), provide honed product recommendations, and deliver tailor-made customer experiences.
Sales managers within your team also benefit tremendously from AI. From creating tailor-made customer experiences, analysing customer data, predicting behaviour, and crafting marketing campaigns.
For those lean-running businesses who may not have an internal sales or marketing team, or their team is a team of one, AI can help a SMB target the right audience. Free tools such as ChatGPT, and Google’s offering, Bard, can help an SMB craft emails and customer communications, social media content and source upselling opportunities.
Let’s talk decision-making. With AI, you’ll have access to actionable insights and predictive analytics. By analysing extensive amounts of data, AI algorithms empower you to make refined choices based on more accurate information. Doing away with any guesswork.
Data analysing SaaS platforms with free trial periods, such as Tableau, are a great opportunity to trial AI powered data analytics to help craft your decisions with low risk and investment: www.tableau.com
Small and medium businesses often face challenges of ensuring cyber security is suitably positioned, due to limited resources and expertise. AI-powered cybersecurity solutions are a comparatively inexpensive way to maintain security best-practice.
These solutions can analyse network traffic, detect irregularities, and proactively respond to security breaches.
We recommend the AI-powered Malwarebytes Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR).
Not so ‘artificial’ intelligence
Competing with larger competitors may seem daunting, but AI can help to level the playing field.
By implementing AI, you can deliver innovative products or services that were previously out of reach. Tasks that were once time-consuming or seemed impossible for SMBs can now be automated, giving you a competitive edge.
Exciting times lie ahead as AI continues to evolve, and SMBs like yours can reap the benefits.
We’re almost living in the future the Jetsons told us we’d have!