Advanced artificial intelligence (AI) techniques are improving business processes from the factory floor to the customer’s door. Used to its fullest advantage, AI has the potential to transform every aspect of business: from the supply chain and logistics to HR and marketing—even to customer care and beyond.
However, that potential often comes with roadblocks that could prevent a full realization of the intended benefits. Companies who implement AI solutions without first mapping out these possible barriers may not be allocating their resources in the best ways possible.
Each application has its own capabilities and its own inherent challenges. Let’s look at a few use cases to better understand what roadblocks might be present when using AI for business.
1. AI Helps You to Understand Your Customers Better
AI offers an incredible opportunity to uncover hidden trends and extract actionable insight in real-time from the data lakes. This data helps you understand the vital trends among your customers about their demands, specific requirements, buying habits, and more.
In addition, with sentiment analysis algorithms, AI helps you know your customer sentiments. Each day millions of customers leave their reviews and opinions about services or products.
Smart, AI-powered review platforms are already highly attractive to consumers, analyzing the feedback of thousands of real fellow-customers to give fast access to the aspects of a product or service that most interest prospective purchasers.
AI analyses this sentiment against the mass of consumer data automatically collected about transactions and customer habits, stock availability, logistics, and product specification data. Smart review platforms are one of the most vital sources of customer sentiment that AI can leverage. Dating apps, after all, already employ AI to create stronger matches between users, to moderate the content that is shared between them, and to offer advice on improving the attractiveness of a profile.
With effective AI implementation, AI can help you make sense of this widely spread data and bring a wealth of insights into where you and your competitors are going right/ wrong. This immensely helps shape business strategies, attract customers, and augment loyalty.
2. Uncovering trends in retail before anyone else spots them
AI will rapidly analyze the information to spot important trends as soon as they emerge. Take an online retailer selling washing machines. Customers in Durham, for example, may have problems with a delivery, whereas customers everywhere else in the North East are happy. What might be the cause? Equally, two retailers selling the same model of washing machine may generate very different levels of satisfaction in their respective sets of customers. AI can rapidly drill down and blend all the available data to find out the likeliest causes of these problems.
Acting on the insights generated will give any customer-facing business a major competitive advantage. From supply chain managers to online helpdesks and store assistants, access to this information in real time allows them to meet changing customer demand or resolve problems before they get out of hand.
3. AI is Transforming the Service Sector for Better
AI is just as effective in the service sector when it has access to sentiment and all the other details of customer interaction. In recruitment, for example, smart review platforms are highly effective in demonstrating to job-seekers how agencies perform. They also allow the business to analyse how its branches and individual consultants are performing, using the feedback of authentic customers.
But a smart review platform will also have hugely valuable information about the journeys of candidates, so that brands can establish trend data, demonstrating how candidates have arrived, where they apply to and where success is most likely for particular demographics.
Using this information, a recruitment business can quickly adapt the service it offers to groups or individuals – adapting procedures and tactics to make life easier for candidates. But AI may also indicate that a large local accountancy practice or logistics business is consulting on redundancies before any details are made public, giving a recruitment agency an important competitive advantage over its rivals.
Right across business, AI is now capable of analysing the data from multiple channels, empowering companies to learn more about their customers and hone how they target specific audiences. Smart review platforms are a vital element in this jigsaw, attracting genuine feedback from real customers.
Most of us have long been familiar with the basic predictive abilities of online retailers, recommending what we might also want to buy. For consumer-facing businesses, AI takes this much, much farther and puts them in the driving seat of positive change.
4. AI-backed Data Processing Workflows
Artificial Intelligence has already revolutionized the data-processing workflows and has been delivering actionable insights for quite some time. It helps the employees by presenting before them trends, patterns, relationships, and anomalies which serve as major decision-driving metrics.
It has shifted the businesses’ concept of data from Describing to Monetizing. Ai is not only classifying the data in a presentable form for users but also have been giving business the directions to turn new found knowledge or insights into visible profits. It can help in expanding the business verticals or the type of customers you have been serving. It has also been contributing to making company workflows more efficient and cost-effective.
Sentimental Analysis and textual Analysis play a major role in this data gathering. Parallel Dots has been contributing in this arena for a long period of time (Anchor Text). Their powerful APIs can comprehend a huge amount of unstructured text and visual data to empower various products and companies. It also empowers market researchers to automate mundane and time-exhausting data-analysis tasks and provide them with insightful and actionable data. Currently, Parallel Dots is providing 9 different APIs for various text analysis tasks and changing the way text analysis has been handled to date. They also provide AI consulting services to explore the “what, why, how and who about deploying AI in businesses.
5. Artificial Intelligence in Human Resource and Intelligent Recruitment
Human resource management has gone through drastic and irrevocable workflow changes with the help of AI and Machine Learning. A pile of irrelevant resumes and manual productivity analysis for retention and appraisals are a thing of the past.
Artificial Intelligence saves HR decision-makers from the mundane and tedious process of shortlisting potential candidates for next rounds. It optimizes this process by relevant keyword-based searches. AI aids in analyzing the filled application form and various pre-filled answers by candidates too. It has aligned the recruitment workflow to be more intelligent and data-driven.
Making better hires is just the start, retaining and mentoring them involves a whole another level of planning. AI tools can assess employees (their mindset and personalities), configures and creates a plan on what areas they need to train the employees, how to motivate them, when to reward them and what not.
It is paradoxical but true that the more Artificial Intelligence a company deploys, the more ‘Human’ a company can be.
6. Augmenting Sales and Lead Generation
AI is making big splashes in business-to-business (B2B) sales and lead generation. Harvard Business Review reports, for instance, that businesses which use AI can reduce call time by up to 70 percent and increase number of leads by 50 percent. Additionally, one source believes that 85 percent of sales-related tasks could be outsourced to the robots by 2020 (without a loss — and likely an improvement — in close rate).
Take LeadFuze, for example. This tool is an AI-based product focused on sales improvement, and finding the right customer segment and lead. It is the first and only lead generation software tool of its kind that combines data aggregation from multiple trusted sources while offering unlimited access and complete list building automation.
I use this product and it means that we spend less time on prospect research and contact gathering and more time on actual sales conversations. Insights-focused businesses, like LeadFuze, are projected to pull in more than $1.2 billion annually by 2020. And that’s for good reason — businesses like mine benefit from that kind of automated lead-generating intelligence.
7. Customer Support
Efficiency is perhaps nowhere more important than in customer support — the place where people want answers and they want them right away. And while pleasing those needy customers might seem like a business revenue afterthought, it isn’t.
According to a report by Temkin, a moderate improvement in customer experience can massively improve revenue. In the study’s own words, “Our analysis shows that NPS is strongly correlated to customers’ willingness to spend more with tech vendors, try their new products and services, forgive them after a bad experience, and act as a reference for them with prospective clients.”
I’ve used companies like Forethought, for instance, who are leading the charge into customer support AI products with their flagship answer recommendation tool, Agatha Answers. Designed as a plug-in enterprise solution that can be installed in two days and improve customer support time-to-resolution by up to 30 percent, Agatha gained widespread attention as it propelled Forethought to victory at the 2018 TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield.
“Agatha Answers recommends answers to customer support tickets, decreases time to resolution, and increases agent productivity,” said Forethought Founder, Deon Nicholas during the TC competition. “Forethought uses AI to augment knowledge professionals.”
With 33 percent of Americans citing poor customer service experiences, reported by Business Insider, as the only motivation required to jump ship, clearly, AI has a significant role to play in the future of the customer service industry.
8. Time Optimization
Certain tasks are more impactful for a business but at the same time may require heavy resources. AI-powered Project Management tools have been helping in the management and prioritization of activities by delving into impact analysis.
Artificial Intelligence has added a valuable feature of detecting any critical tasks or goals and raising reminders for the same. This has changed the workflow of the workspace and raised employee efficiency standards. The AI also helps in deciding the deadlines and later generating regular reports for review by management.
9. Predictive Maintenance
AI has been instrumental in improving the function and economy of industrial systems. IIoT (industrial internet of things) sensors send data to the AI, which then analyzes that data—along with the data of all other machines connected to the network—and provides predictions as to when machines are bound to fail. In some cases, the AI can facilitate redundancy and repair before production feels the impact. By taking this task out of the hands of factory management, the human element is free to focus on higher-value tasks. AI intervention drastically reduces downtime and improves processes from end-to-end. With the help of AI, relevant data is delivered directly to the appropriate recipients—such as the ERP (enterprise resource planning system), the factory foreman, or personnel on the loading dock—instantly, accurately, and efficiently.
In this case, a possible roadblock can occur when changing systems over to take advantage of IIoT and AI technology. An established factory that has relied on manual systems in the past may be resistant to change because of the perceived impact on jobs and day-to-day processes in general. The investment could be significant, too; however, the cost impact of not making these upgrades could leave a factory eating dust from their competitors, including new startups eager to leverage the technology to their advantage.
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