These are exciting times for business and technology. From one technological innovation to another, startups are getting the support they need to reach their greatest potentials. A forerunner in this partnership is the data-driven Artificial Intelligence (AI).
In today’s digital society, data play a huge role in managing the present and shaping the future. According to Forbes, world data are rapidly growing, and will hit 163 zettabytes by 2025.
But unused data is a total waste. There’s so much to gain from analyzing these data and putting them to use. This is where AI comes in.
There are jitters in some quarters that AI will render humans jobless in the near future. Undoubtedly, the leading technology is transforming the world in many ways, but it isn’t the enemy against mankind.
As McKinsey&Company rightly pointed out, there aren’t that many jobs that AI can independently perform – only 5%. Contrary to popular belief, it’s creating opportunities for businesses to grow.
Let’s take a look at some ways AI can help your startup to grow.
1. Automate repetitive tasks
You love your business. Not only does it pay your bills, it motivates you to become a better person. But there are those routine tasks that aren’t going away. You have to perform them over and over again to keep the ball rolling.
Repetitive tasks are a tradition in startups. With your business still trying to find its feet, you have to keep doing the basics for smooth operations. However, there are other tasks that are more vital in driving your business forward. But you can’t fully devote to them because the repetitive tasks won’t execute themselves.
In an Automation in the Workplace Study, 69% of workers disclosed that automation helped them in reducing time wasted on repetitive work. You could have your routine tasks taken care of while you focus on the more engaging and productive ones.
Having entered work instructions on the system, you step aside and let it do its thing. You have more time on your hands to figure out ways to grow your business.
2. Identify product-market fit faster
Every product has a market. Finding and owning it is a challenge for most startups. Missing the mark puts them in a continuous struggle for survival. And when they can no longer keep up with running at a loss, they fold up.
Ordinarily, figuring it out would involve a series of market research. Doing this all by yourself is a lot of work. You may end up spending beyond your budget when you go into the field to get market data.
Riding on the coattails of AI, you can find all the data you need via its machine learning, audience segmentation, and natural language processing among others.
AI data are transformed from their raw state into clear terms for easy understanding. These data don’t only state the end-results but also reasons behind them in a cause-effect arrangement.
Consumers aren’t so hard to please. The difficulty lies in identifying their needs and satisfying them. AI-enabled technologies are programmed to collect consumer online interactions. Startups can make use of such data in understanding consumer behavior, and pander to their emotions accordingly.
3. Improve employee engagement
According to a Gallup study, 70% of American employees aren’t engaged at work. A business with unengaged employees has more problems than it thinks. Why? People are your greatest asset. Your business is only as strong as the people who run it. When you create room for lack of motivation on the job, it inadvertently reflects in your overall performance.
Building an expert HR team to actively engage employees and motivate them to be the best they can be is a good way to solve the problem of employee engagement. This entails getting some of the best people on the job and financing of specialized programs in this regard. As a startup, you may not have the resources for these. So, do you leave your employees unmotivated at the detriment of your business?
There are AI solutions specifically designed for employee engagement. For example: You can have an internal chatbot system that engages your staff on a regular basis. Work information can be communicated to them at the right time without slipping through the cracks. They can also share their thoughts on work practices and other issues bothering them.
4. Deliver excellent customer service
Good customer service is a prerequisite for success in business. Size isn’t an excuse to neglect this aspect of business. Startups are faced with the uphill task of surviving the financial, environmental and regulatory hurdles that are beyond their powers. Excelling in areas within their control is important to solidify their footing.
Having a customer-centric mindset in business puts things in perspective. When satisfying your customers is your number one priority, other things will naturally follow.
But this requires a lot of effort.
Opening your doors wide open to customers for communication is a good starting point for customer service. According to a Twitter report, customers are willing to spend more money on businesses that respond to them quickly. No one wants to be kept waiting for long hours. How do you attend to the communication needs of your customers at a snap of the finger?
Make use of help desk tools. Brands no longer totally depend on their support agents for customer interactions. Customer inquiries can sometimes be a handful, overwhelming the support agents. Tools like chatbot, live chat are handy for instant communication. Customers don’t have to wait before someone comes along to attend to them. They have the freedom to frame their inquiries and control the conversation. However, chatbot isn’t a substitute for live support agents. They are most effective when combined with human support.
Today’s startups have more chances to succeed unlike those from years back. Thanks to advancements in technology, your small business can enjoy benefits that were prerogatives of the high-spending big companies. The question is, are you making good use of the opportunities?
Sam Makad is an experienced writer and marketing consultant. His expertise lies on marketing and advertising. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their business and overall ROI.