Efficiency. It’s the goal of every modern business from the newly minted startup to the legacy enterprise. Yet becoming a well-oiled machine can be tough. Leveraging tools that use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) makes the quest easier.
What makes AI and ML valuable when it comes to optimizing the way your company and its people work? Namely, they’re assets that naturally work faster than the average employee’s brain. How much faster? In 2022, researchers at MIT said they created systems that reacted one million times more quickly than human neural nets.
Consider how this could play out in the development and analysis of a dozen or more spreadsheets. With the right input (e.g., calculations), an AI-based system could spot anomalies and connections across those spreadsheets with ease. A worker, on the other hand, might spend days or weeks pouring over the information to get the same results. And if ML were added into the mix? The AI-driven software could become more predictive, allowing you to get ahead of trends.
Sign up for 12 new, free courses on topics from SBA loans to influencer marketing. Verizon Small Business Digital Ready.
Areas to Improve Your Efficiency With AI and ML
You might be eager to get started with AI and ML, which is understandable. However, you want your tech investment to offer the strongest possible ROI. With that in mind, consider bringing AI and ML into the following areas of your business first. They’re all places that will benefit heavily from an efficiency boost.
1. Recruitment, hiring, and training
When it comes to bringing people into your company, you want the process to be fast and seamless. At the same time, you want to choose team members likely to succeed and stay. AI and ML can help you get the right people in the right seats. And everything can start before you ever advertise for your next openings.
As Bryce Murray of Two Story explains, you can lean into behavioral science to construct artificial intelligence-generated algorithms. Murray gives the example of a business looking for general managers. The business could study the qualities and traits its strongest managers possess. Once noted, those benchmark characteristics could become the basis of an AI computation to predict candidate success. The characteristics could also be springboards to train existing managers so they could reach their greatest potential.
Murray’s explanation reveals how AI can promote personnel and human resources efficiency in three ways. The first is in a more rapid selection process. The second is through more precise interviewing questions based on the predicted needs of the job. Third is by training people in relevant topics that enable them to put learning to use immediately.
2. Marketing, branding, and sales
In a recent report, Capgemini revealed that as few as 11% of marketers are effectively using data. If your company is like most, then, you’re probably sitting on an untapped data lake. By adding one or more AI products to your Marcom stack, you can start making your data work.
Certainly, marketing, branding, advertising, and sales have plenty of moving parts. You don’t have to incorporate AI or ML into all of them. A small step forward, such as through the use of AI to enhance personalization, is a good way to begin. It’s no secret that consumers are asking for increased personalization in all their communications with companies. The problem is that your marketers and salespeople can’t spend all their time personalizing content. An AI product can.
AI has the ability to “see” your lead gen, sales, and other information across many platforms. Consequently, AI software can grab data to make engagements feel more personal and customized. ML can heighten the experience more by anticipating what the consumer might need to see to move forward. For instance, your tech tool could look at the journeys other people have taken through your funnel. Then, the tool could provide individualized content meant to replicate the same journey efficiently—and without human intervention.
How to Validate Your Side Hustle Ideas to Find the One that Best Suits You
3. Support, service, and assistance
No matter what kind of product or service you sell, customers and clients will always need support. It can be easy to lose hours and hours trying to help buyers, though. That’s why so many organizations have instituted AI chatbots. A chatbot never slows down, never gets tired, and never stops working. Plus, it can serve as a point of triage and director of self-service options.
Chatbots are only one way AI is finding its way into customer and client support, however. Another use for AI in the assistance realm is as an assistant to service representatives. AI software can “listen in” to service calls and bring representatives information based on the conversation.
Let’s say your representative is on the phone with a customer who hasn’t received a shipment yet. After asking for the customer’s name, the representative can expect the AI tool to automatically find the customer’s information. Rather than having to tab through several pages or input characters, the representative has everything immediately. Every keystroke takes time: With AI, customer service representatives can more readily satisfy and delight buyers.
4. Payroll and vendor invoice fulfillment
Plenty of typical back-office and administrative duties can benefit from AI and ML. Payroll is the first, and arguably the most important. When you’re first starting out, you may be able to do payroll by hand. Yet the more people you bring on board, the less efficient manual payroll processing becomes. Eventually, your team might spend needless hours double-checking everything.
Automating your payroll with an AI-informed system makes a lot of sense. The system does all the heavy lifting and no one needs to compute anything. Best of all, you have airtight records that can be pulled at any time. That’s a huge relief because you never have to worry that you won’t be able to provide payroll information. Depending upon the payroll partner you choose, you may be able to give your employees access to their accounts. They’ll have everything at their fingertips and won’t need to ask you for lost copies of things like paystubs.
Another back office workflow that deserves the advantage of both AI and ML is vendor invoice processing. If your team is processing invoices by hand, they may miss out on discrepancies or even fraud. Advanced systems can detect problems or duplicate bills, flagging potential issues. Why pay double by mistake? Tech tools are available to streamline payments (which keeps vendors happy) and eliminate mistakes (which keeps you happy.)
The more efficient your business can be, the more able you’ll be to maximize your growth. And tools that include AI and ML are poised to assist you in optimizing your company’s operations in many ways.