The rise of artificial intelligence in B2C

Alexandra Hicks
Alexandra Hicks
A
Artificial intelligence can make or break a small business. AI allows businesses to work faster and smarter by automating menial tasks and allowing employees to be more productive in other areas. It’s the only way to compete in an increasingly fast-paced world.
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For example, NatWest – a retail banking company headquartered in London – has recently begun testing a “digital human” to help answer customers’ basic banking queries such as “How do I apply for a mortgage?” or “How do I make a credit card payment?”. New Zealand-based company Soul Machines helped develop the program. The virtual assistant, whose name is Cora, can have a two-way verbal conversation via computer screen, mobile phone, and tablet; in which she can answer over 200 basic banking questions. Cora has been described as “highly life-like” and “able to draw on advances in neuroscience, psychology, computing power and artificial intelligence”.

 

Cora has been described as “highly life-like” and “able to draw on advances in neuroscience, psychology, computing power and artificial intelligence”.

 

3 WAYS AI CAN HELP YOUR SMALL BUSINESS GROW 

Artificial Intelligence is no longer just a distant, sci-fi dream. It’s a powerful tool that can be used by any entrepreneur to help their businesses grow. Below are a few of the best ways to utilise AI to quickly increase your profit margin.

  1. Virtual Assistant: AI can be used as a skilled personal assistant with the ability to quickly and accurately perform a variety of functions. HubSpot recently developed a chatbot that can be programmed to process customer flows, assist consumers with the RFP submission form, and complete a number of other simple customer service and sales tasks.
  2. Sales and Marketing: Once an AI system acquires the necessary amount of consumer data, it can very easily find and organise inbound leads. It’s one of the most efficient ways to determine which leads are most likely to end up buying. Many AI systems keep track of email retrieval and response rates, social media activity, and any important forms and documents.
  3. Expense Management: As expected, AI can help manage accounting and expenses. Errors are flagged almost immediately, which means they can be fixed much faster than ever before.

 

LET’S FOCUS MORE ON CUSTOMER SERVICE AND MARKETING

In the customer service realm, AI can be used to take your business to new heights. With programs like Einstein Salesforce, customer service departments can identify and resolve consumer issues before they even occur. AI can also sort the customer sentiments to deliver a more personalised experience with each use. According to a recent Zendesk study, as much as 42% of customers were more likely to make purchases following positive customer service interactions, while on the opposite end of the spectrum, 52% of them completely abandoned the purchase due to a single disappointing customer support experience.

When it comes to the marketing aspect, AI can make that significantly easier as well. Programs like Einstein can enhance the experience for both the consumer and the employee by creating a database of personalised goods and services for each individual. Einstein scours through different records – such as age and location – to make sure they’re offering the correct deals and information for that time. Needless to say, this can be very convenient for customers, but it’s also great for employees, who can use that information to build deeper relationships with their customers. Experts believe that by the year 2020, nearly 85% of consumer interactions will be via robot. It’s inevitable really, so the only companies that can survive will be those who figure out how seamlessly integrate AI into their current business models.

 

It’s inevitable really, so the only companies that can survive will be those who figure out how seamlessly integrate AI into their current business models.

 

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO FEAR

However, there are many theories in circulation regarding the potential for AI to completely replace the need for humans in the workplace. Many fear the day that Artificial Intelligence completely takes over consumer interactions, which could lead to difficulty resolving customer complaints and a loss of jobs. It’s true that the demand for AI will only continue to rise, but that doesn’t mean that people will become obsolete. Quite the contrary; if the amount of in-person interactions declines, the quality of these interactions will be of utmost importance. It’s completely feasible that customer service will actually improve since AI can be used to automate the routine tasks and help find answers to consumers’ questions, allowing agents to focus more providing personalised help to each caller.

 

TO SUMMARISE

Overall, the point of Artificial Intelligence isn’t to ignore and confuse customers, nor is it put customer service agents out of a job. The goal is to combine all the best aspects of technology and humanity to provide the best customer service experience possible.