AI software systems portend major changes to how businesses reach, connect, and convert customers. From simple sentiment analysis to powerful support ticket predictors AI has true potential to create significant efficiencies in the sales cycle.
But a not insignificant investment is required, and the fast moving pace of this new technology means small business needs to be cautious when taking on the AI world for its own uses. The major points to consider when research AI for small business.
- AI only works well when it has a significant amount of historical data. So even if your small business isn’t ready for AI today, it’s worth organizing primary business data that can be the basis for a quality AI program down the road.
- AI technology and cloud based offerings for business are expanding and changing at a fast rate. Small business needs to hedge on committing to any one AI software platform to be sure it doesn’t find itself on the wrong end of the tech trends that are pushing AI forward. AI cloud based offerings from Google, Microsoft, and Amazon offer a relatively low risk way to test AI solutions without committing significant resources.
- AI solutions won’t replace your CRM or support desk software, they can only enrich them. Your AI marketing and sales options are largely dependent on the configuration options of these existing business systems. Certainly within the next 2 years almost all CRM and support desk software will come embedded with AI options, so small business will want to investigate the options and the roadmap of their existing software.
Perhaps the biggest danger for using AI for small business is losing the human touch that is the landmark of so much that makes small businesses successful. Automation, prediction tools, and sentiment analysis can all enrich the customer/sales loop, but at the same time they take away human eyeballs who can spot idiosyncrasies and unique scenarios that require anomalous customer actions. Small business, certainly vis a vis their larger business counterpoints, must ensure customer satisfaction at the most granular level, and indeed this human relationship with customers is the foundation for many small business success. So AI must be inspected that it is not creating too much ‘artificial’ contact at the risk of losing actual human customers.
How Much Efficiency Is Too Much?
This question is a very germane one for small business who want to investigate using AI. Especially in high traffic, highly competitive sectors, small business owners would be well served to remember that multiple studies show people overwhelmingly still prefer human customer support to AI based support. A percentage that is in excess of 80% in some studies.
AI is already impacting live chat, email, and phone support for business. Small business would be well advised to see where cloud based AI services can assist and enrich the customer/sales loop while being aware of the downfall of too much ‘artificial’ in their customer services processes.