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How To Make Artificial Intelligence Work For You

Leading the list of hot trends in the workplace for 2018 are artificial intelligence enhancements in machine learning devices. As a result, does this mean that small business owners must add one more item to their list of new skills to stay current? Salesforce indicates that 62 percent of companies will be using A.I. technologies by 2018. Since ignoring the latest advances in technology isn't an option to be successful and most small businesses are not in a position to add a chief data officer to the team, small business owners need to understand how A.I. can work for them. To figure out what would work best for your small business, first get up to speed on what the next couple of years hold in store. "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail," is the cautionary clause Benjamin Franklin famously once said.

See patterns and save time

According to Salesforce, "A.I. tools can help small companies discover patterns in their businesses and predict what will happen next, recommend best actions, and even automate many of those actions for them." Attending to phone calls, sending emails, managing CRMs, handling social media, reporting, and analytics are a few of the areas where A.I. can help small businesses work smarter while freeing up employees who keep growth strategy in focus.

Data and CRM management

A.I. plays a big role in analyzing data from customers' interactions to help enhance sales, service, and marketing. Businesses are able to introduce offers, content, or product to the right customer or prospect at the right time. At Salesforce, the artificial intelligence known as Einstein is embedded into the technology, making it easier for small businesses to get on with their business.

Customer insights

Boosted by artificial intelligence, customer insight is a key area for small businesses wanting to revolutionize sales engagement and customer service. Businesses can service and retain customers by capturing, managing, analyzing, and applying customer insights acquired through A.I. Forrester predicts up to 80 percent of companies will rely on A.I. in 2018 for these insights at least once during a relationship with one of their customers.

Voice search 

"Alexa, find me a flight to New York." Voice search is on the rise. Led by Google and Amazon, AI-powered voice assistants are the next frontier in search, with major implications for commerce. According to eMarketer, 67 million voice-assisted devices will be in use in America's homes by 2019, inevitably capable of mobile-use too. ComScore data forecasts that by 2020, some 50 percent of all search will be accomplished with voice rather than fingertips.

Conversational chatbots

We're all becoming more accustomed to having conversations with chatbots. What sounds like a human voice is a computer program conducting a reasonable interpretation of conversation via auditory methods. Gartner, the technology research company, projects that more than 85 percent of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020, with chatbots leading the way.

Automation, insights, engagement

Harvard Business Review sums up artificial intelligence for small business owners."Broadly speaking, A.I. can support three important business needs: automating business processes, gaining insight through data analysis, and engaging with customers and employees."

This article was written by Laurie Jo Miller Farr for Small Business Pulse

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