Should Your Small or Mid-Sized Business Care About AI?
AI can empower small and mid-sized businesses. Here are some of the benefits you can leverage.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is making waves across the globe to meet the needs of businesses of all types and sizes. Instead of performing routine tasks manually, more companies are learning the power of automating their systems and operations. Consequently, they are achieving greater efficiency, fewer errors, and increasing their revenue. AI-powered automation can give smaller companies a significant boost as they can manage and grow their businesses without breaking the bank. This article will cover the benefits that AI brings to SMB businesses and some critical considerations that should be focused on before deploying AI technology.
How Can AI Help My Small or Mid-Sized Company? Here Are 8 Key Benefits.
Artificial intelligence has unmatched potential to propel businesses forward. When used intelligently, the advantages of AI to businesses are significant. Here are key benefits AI brings to small and medium-sized businesses in general:
Boosts Sales Efforts
AI integration with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms can level up customer relationships and integration. CRM solutions collect useful customer data across multiple communication channels to help businesses improve and automate sales. Now, solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales benefits businesses as they offer in-built AI features to help you get actionable sales insights. For instance, it can help you augment seller-submitted forecasts and view deal flows and trends. You can also use the in-build AI to track your sales calls to detect customer emotion, sentiment, and priorities to help you communicate more effectively.
Automates Customer Communications
For small or medium services and project-based businesses that don't have the budget or dedicated customer service team, AI-driven chatbots can fill the customer service gaps. For instance, Microsoft's Dynamics 365 Customer Service solution lets you activate AI-powered virtual agents for a modern, self-service solution. It allows you quickly address and resolve issues, freeing up agents to handle more complex issues. Chatbots also help companies provide customer support 24/7 by automating customer communications, making the experience personalized. AI chatbots typically respond in less than 30 seconds to information-based questions. In case of complex customer needs, the chatbot recommends and arranges human interaction. According to Global Market Insights, the overall industry size for AI chatbots globally is predicted to cross $1.3 billion by 2024.
Cybersecurity threats have continued to emerge during the last couple of years, and often, it's the smaller businesses that are more vulnerable to attacks as they may lack adequate security measures. AI can successfully be used to ensure digital data security and protect the company from cyber threats. With machine learning and AI, companies can detect unusual behavior, work beforehand for the new threats, and identify the security vulnerabilities to ensure that business and customer data is secure.
Streamlines HR Tasks
Hiring and retaining talent can be time-consuming for any business, but smaller companies often lack a formal HR team or department to handle these essential tasks. Fortunately, AI has started to creep into human resources, and many tools have now been developed to streamline the hiring and onboarding process. The AI-enabled systems help sift through numerous resumes and find candidates that match to open jobs. What's more, such tools are intelligent enough to take charge of any admin-related tasks, tedious processes in particular. Using AI-based tools, small businesses can provide employees with an individualized experience, mentor them, and keep them happy and engaged.
Offers Competitive Intelligence
Analyzing the digital information that competitors produce is vital for businesses to react to the dynamic market trends and stay competitive. However, keeping track of the business competitors on different channels like social media, web applications, and websites could be difficult. Certain AI-powered competitive analysis tools help businesses address this challenge. These tools can track the business competitors across various digital channels and gather a range of data like price updates, subtle changes in marketing languages, etc.
With robust business metrics and NLP, AI can help small firms better understand their competitors' strategies and respond faster and more efficiently to industry changes that could impact their business.
Increases Forecasting Accuracy
Perhaps the major benefit of AI for small businesses is the ability to predict outcomes accurately. Artificial intelligence can provide predictions about future results based on historical data. Tools integrated with AI can handle large data arrays, identify past patterns, and provide insight into the future. AI technology supports companies with predictive analytics, which empowers them to make better decisions and take actions to achieve objectives.
Improves Decision Making and Processes
Machine learning and artificial intelligence features can help improve decision-making and processes for companies. AI makes the business' supply chain more efficient for better warehouse management, improved inventory, quicker shipping, etc. These technologies are also used to minimize risk by collecting data on processes and checking for human error to build improved procedures. In addition, companies leverage AI-powered tools for streamlining project management and scheduling of meetings and resources.
Strengthens Brand Loyalty with Individualization
Customers today expect a personalized experience from a brand or company. Unfortunately, not many businesses are able to deliver this level of personalization due to a lack of resources. By using consumer data, AI can assist businesses in providing their consumers a more individualized experience. Such tools help companies analyze past buying behavior and understand the purchaser's personality and preferences, strategically planning out their upcoming marketing campaign. This process increases customer and brand loyalty.
Getting Started with AI In Your Company
AI can empower small or mid-sized companies and propel them forward. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind before diving into AI. Begin with determining how AI can specifically benefit your business. Adopting AI only because it's an emerging trend isn't the ideal approach. It is essential to identify what specific problems the business plans on solving with AI.
Without clear business objectives, AI implementation may not give a company the desired outcomes. Then, you should identify how your company will build, manage, or support an AI-related system. For example, Microsoft AI offers tools and services to help your development team create AI solutions to meet your business needs. However, some businesses may need to start smaller. You might consider out-of-the-box AI or look for ERP or CRM cloud solutions that already offer in-built AI features so that you can leverage the benefits without too much effort or expense.