Platforms that leverage machine learning aren’t just reserved for large businesses with lots of tech and development resources. About 13.6 percent of SMBs were reportedly implementing AI solutions to enhance their business operations in 2018. By the next year 37 percent of all organizations were using AI in some capacity, which equates to 270 percent growth between 2015 and 2019.
Artificial intelligence is looking to be the next smartphone or social media in terms of growth and rapid widespread adoption.
Most small businesses have two big questions about leveraging machine learning: what exactly could I use AI for and how would I implement it with the resources at my disposal?
- In health care, computer-assisted diagnostics are quickly becoming important tools used for identifying and diagnosing serious illnesses
- Companies that need to process payment information and maintain sensitive data are using AI to improve fraud protection and prevent consumer fragmentation
- Some companies are still attempting to harness chatbots, although that particular use of AI may be falling out of fashion
- Lenders and financial institutions are beginning to use AI platforms to review financial contracts or begin loan origination documentation
Recruitment and CRM AI Integration
Some of the most applicable and easily accessible machine-learning platforms for small businesses are those pertaining to recruitment and customer relationship management (CRM).
Many small business owners are likely benefiting from AI in some form without even realizing it. For example, several modern recruiting platforms use AI applicant tracking systems (ATS) to minimize the repetitive task load of recruiters.
These recruiting tools can automatically analyze the recruiter’s calendar and recommend interview time slots. If the job candidate cancels an interview the system can both notify the recruiter and recommend replacement candidates for that time.
It’s fairly common for these recruitment platforms to be able to automatically provide a list of the best candidates by compiling and scanning resumes for relevant keywords and skills. Some of these recruiting applications, like XOR Review, do basic screening with potential candidates through chatbots.
Most of these platforms also do more basic tasks like automatically finding and populating contact information to allow recruiters to utilize an easy click-to-call functionality.
These may not seem like massive improvements, but for a recruiter who spends all day doing some of these menial tasks these features could save a lot of time.
Does your business deal with customer service calls, record meetings or utilize sales calls? There are a variety of CRMs that transcribe and even analyze recorded sales calls and meetings (like Chorus, which integrates with Salesforce). Some of these platforms can even be set to highlight specific topics (budgets, pricing, etc.) and annotate and time-stamp transcripts.
Cogito is a sales and service enhancement platform that uses voice analysis to provide customer service and salespeople with real-time guidance on client/lead emotional response (i.e. are they being amicable or tired of talking to you?).
Conversica is intended to imitate a human-like persona to engage and follow up with potential leads or even cross-sell existing clients. It can be tweaked to specifically seek things like best phone numbers to use to reach clients, times to call, client feedback or purchase criteria for leads. (Can be integrated with Marketo, Pardot and Eloqua.)
There are also speech analytic AI options for call center replacement that provide answers to client customer service questions without using static branching response options. Many business owners who have had bad experiences with automated customer support lines may not like the idea of relying on AI to field customer calls, but these technologies are getting better by the day.
Machine Learning Is on Its Way
The applications in which AI can be harnessed to improve efficiency, speed and quality is growing by the day. You may not think any of the platforms we listed today would be particularly applicable to your business, but it’s only a matter of time.
Think about your business’s busy work and imagine how it could potentially be automated and streamlined. Is your business falling short on data analysis? Are you unhappy with your lead conversion efforts? There’s likely an AI-assisted platform that could help. If you’re dealing with a high volume of support tickets, there are machine learning tools that categorize and even deal with simple customer inquiries.
The average SMB isn’t going to build out a custom artificial intelligence solution that’s specifically designed to enhance their business, but there are a lot of platforms already available that can be easily implemented.
Providing Great, Cost-Effective Coworking Spaces and Enterprise Solutions for SMBs and Entrepreneurs
The MAC6 shared workspace in Tempe is ideal for:
- Businesses that are just starting out
- Freelancers who need a physical address and somewhere to concentrate
- Growing your staff without having to break your current commercial contract or leasing a second location
If you want to make your labor hours and operating dollars go farther and don’t think AI can help you do that, coworking spaces could be a great alternative solution.
Our partners are also encouraged to make use of the MAC6 Academy. This people-focused, business growth leadership program can help you improve team performance, build culture, improve your recruiting strategies and better retain top talent.
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