AI and SMEs - A Hot Topic

SMEs and AI – A Technology Revolution

When people think of Artificial Intelligence (AI), visions of robots and drones swooping overhead, driverless cars filling the streets, or a science-fiction-style landscape where everything is connected electronically could spring to mind. However, AI is actually a lot more subtle.

AI is intelligence displayed by machines, compared with NI (Natural Intelligence) that we humans and animals possess. It is usually defined as the science of making computers do things that require intelligence when done by humans. Still conjuring up images of Ex Machina or Blade Runner?

For SMEs, the benefits of AI have already arrived. Data analysis and prediction software are good examples. Yet, there are many more ways in which SMEs can start thinking about AI, and how it can benefit them.

The truth is, we are smack in the middle of a revolution right now. First it was mechanics, then electronics, then IT. Now we’re entering the next phase of the internet. AI is already playing a huge part in this, and will benefit many sectors – one of the first to jump on the bandwagon is the retail sector.

It is no surprise that the retail sector is quickly attempting to make the most of this new technology. Using the ‘new age of the internet’ can help a lot in growing a brand and improving customer service and journeys in deeply personal ways.

SMEs and AI – Chatbots and Customer Service

There are many people who have memories of the early days of call centres, where humans were trained to act like robots, and to treat customers with little to no empathy, or understanding. Thankfully by now, most companies have realised the damage this causes to their brand, and many companies are realising the benefits of AI in customer service.

AI-driven chatbots are excellent front-line customer service agents. They are perfect for answering the most common questions that companies get asked time and time again. Thus, leaving your human customer service team to focus the on more pressing individual cases, saving time and money.

Marks and Spencer recently used chatbots to connect with customers via Facebook Messenger, encouraging customers to order their Christmas food via the Messenger app, and reconnecting with those who didn’t convert a few days before the Christmas order cut off point. This was a hugely successful campaign, with many customers enjoying the personal touch of the service.

AI and SMEs - The Future?

SMEs and AI – Analytics and Improvement

Thanks to AI, SMEs can easily tap into third-party services to analyse their data to learn about customer’s preferences, provide tailored product recommendations, or target ads to the most receptive audience, e.g., on Facebook. Each of these involves complex AI, but are available to even the smallest of companies.

Regardless of your sector, AI and the current internet revolution will impact your business in some way. It is vital to watch the market and keep an open mind for what technology enhancements you can add to your business offering to better serve your customers.

AI isn’t just about robots, it’s about the possibilities that it represents to SMEs, and the time/money savings. Knowledge is power, and with the correct tools, SMEs can become more intelligent and tech-savvy than ever before.

SMEs and AI – Marketing Automation with Zymplify

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Written by Carly Warke – Marketing Manager for Zymplify

Carly is a marketer from the North Coast of Ireland, with over 6 years of marketing expertise under her belt. She’s a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), having completed several courses with the institute throughout her career.

When she isn’t crafting creative campaigns for Zymplify, she enjoys running after her 2 young children and going for walks on the North Coast’s many beautiful beaches.