Written by Joe Barron, Cognism
Artificial Intelligence (AI). So much has been written about it recently, it’s in danger of becoming just another buzzword. Yet its importance cannot be overestimated. Last year, the software as a service (SaaS) provider InsideSales.com conducted a study into AI and how UK consumers felt about it.
These were their findings:
- Over half of UK consumers (57%) regularly use AI in the home.
- 39% of the people surveyed thought that AI would limit their job prospects.
- A similar number – 38% – thought that AI would create job opportunities for them.
- Almost a quarter of UK workers (24%) believed that the growth of AI in the workplace meant that they would have robot co-workers or bosses in the near future.
- Six out of ten respondents (61%) saw the value of adopting AI to streamline day-to-day processes.
It’s clear from these stats that a significant portion of UK consumers are aware of the vast impact that AI is likely to have on their personal and working lives. The potential for disruption is huge – according to some commentators, we are on the brink of a Fourth Industrial Revolution!
But it doesn’t have to be all bad. AI represents an opportunity for progress, for companies and people to simplify tasks, develop new and innovative products, and boost productivity. Perhaps the most important figure from InsideSales.com’s report is the 61% of UK consumers being able to see the benefits of AI in the workplace. The potential, and the will, to harness the power of AI is there – and this will only increase over time as the technology evolves and plays an even bigger role in everyday life.
In some industries, AI is already having a considerable effect. It is being used to administer and manage all sorts of functions, in all sorts of businesses. Here are five important ways in which AI is changing the world of work:
This is the most common application of AI for most companies. It involves the automation of digital and physical tasks that would normally be done by human workers. Robotic process automation (RPA) technologies allow many tedious or time-consuming activities to be completed automatically by so-called “robots” (in other words, software or code). The types of work affected include:
- Manual data entry and updating
- Customer communications (e.g.: automated emails)
- Payroll and billing functions
- Reading and extracting information from documents (e.g.: contracts or CVs)
In taking over many of the more mundane business activities, AI frees up time for employees to engage in more creative or productive endeavours.
Data processing technologies are making it possible for businesses and brands to create a personalised experience for their customers. AI analyses data such as buying trends, internet browsing history and social media interactions to build a complete picture of a customer’s needs and habits. Sales and marketing teams can utilise this information to know their clients better, and ultimately, serve them better.
A good example of this in action is online entertainment providers such as Amazon Prime and Netflix. They deploy AI to personalise recommendations for their users, based on their prior activity – leading to happier customers and increased retention rates.
It’s predicted that this area will see substantial advances over the coming year. Soon, a sales rep asking for a prospect’s name, email address or contact details will be a thing of the past – all thanks to AI.
Many businesses are using AI to predict customer behaviour. Through machine learning, companies can match individuals to products and prices to spending patterns. AI can pinpoint when a prospect would be most likely to buy a product, thereby increasing the chance of sales success. It can alert marketers to when a customer would be most likely to switch to another provider, meaning that the customer can be approached with a new special offer.
Sales triggers are a good real-world example of this predictive element to AI. A sales trigger is an event that creates an opening for a marketing or sales opportunity. For example, if a client is promoted or starts a new job at another company, or if an organisation hires new employees or relocates to a different office. AI tracks these changes and informs salespeople of the best times to reach out to their prospects. In this way, AI helps businesses to grow their sales, close more deals, and increase their revenue.
24/7 Customer Support
This is one area where a lot of businesses are already using AI to improve their processes. Chatbots (AI which can converse with humans via voice or text) enable 24/7 customer support, talking with and guiding customers at all times of the day. AI can also gather the data from their customer interactions and provide valuable insight and analytics.
By providing a smoother and more convenient customer service experience, AI helps to heighten customer happiness. This keeps retention rates steady and gives marketing teams plenty of material to work with, through satisfied customer testimonials and referrals.
AI has the ability to sort and sift through enormous quantities of data, far quicker than any human could do. Businesses use AI to organise, categorise and process vast datasets, determining patterns in the data and improving results.
AI has become particularly vital to the SaaS sector. This is because of the need for SaaS companies to ensure that their services are as optimal and user-friendly as possible. For them, AI enables the automation of services, the personalisation of the customer experience, and enhanced data security. As time goes on and technology advances, the same benefits are sure to come to other industries. The potential for AI to improve our lives as workers and consumers is there – it’s up to us to make the most of it!
Joe Barron is the Content Writer for Cognism. Did you like this article? Do you have any thoughts or comments? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org