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    Business techBusiness advice
    25 March 2022

    James Francis

    Make your business faster and smarter with AI

    Real artificial intelligence (AI) is here, and it’s changing how much your business can do each and every day. 

    Forget science fiction tropes about murderous robots and computers gone crazy – real AI is here, and it has the potential to boost your productivity day by day. You many not realise it, but AI is already a part of your daily life. Every time you talk to a voice assistant on your phone or rely on your email client to prioritise your messages, that is AI in action. 

    But many professionals don’t realise they can use AI to help them work faster and smarter. You can scale your productivity and accuracy with AI-powered tools, many of which work in the backgrounds of popular services. 

    Let’s take a look at a few examples, as well as services you can start using right now. 

    Customer relationships 

    Every business relies on its customers – but it’s a competitive world out there, so you have to stay on top of their needs. That generally takes a lot of time, plus, you have to anticipate your customers’ needs before they do. The solution? Modern customer relationship managers (CRMs) and customer data platforms (CDPs). They pack in many AI features, such as predicting churn and generating sentiment by analysing various sources, including social media posts. If you want customer management on steroids, AI is the answer! 

    Examples: Salesforce Einstein, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Gong.io 

    Process automation 

    In the classic novel Robinson Crusoe, the titular character relies heavily on the help of a local islander he called Friday. Since then, we’ve used that name to refer to people who take care of all the small but essential tasks that a business needs to keep in check. Today, the “Fridays” of offices are increasingly AI-powered tools. Some automation tools do very specific jobs, while others are more versatile. You can use them to create “if-this-then-that” logic threads. It takes a little time to learn what AI process automation can deliver, but it’s worth the investment. 

    Examples: Microsoft Power Automate, Sage AP Automation 

    Transcriptions 

    Transcribing voice recordings is one of the most labour-intensive, time-killing tasks, whether you do it yourself or pay someone else. So you’ll be relieved to know that an AI transcription service can turn an hour of talking into a document within minutes! Accuracy can vary, especially when a recording has background noise, but transcription bots are still very effective. The best services also provide tools to edit a transcription while you listen to the recording. Some can even transcribe audio from online meetings in real time. 

    Examples: Otter.ai, Rev, Temi 

    Writing tools 

    If you dread writing, you’ll love AI writing tools. And even if you’re an uncanny wordsmith, you still can’t go wrong with an AI writing assistant. Services vary from excellent grammar and punctuation checkers to creating entire blocks of copy that you can tweak until the content fits your needs. AI writing assistants are extremely useful, especially when creating marketing or search-ready blog posts or ads. At the very least, they can check your spelling and save you time trying to spot errors. 

    Examples: Grammarly, Ink, Rytr 

    Time management 

    As a business owner, managing your schedule has probably become a high-demand exercise, especially if you’re looking to carve out some personal time. And time management is exactly where business-related AI first started making an impact. An AI time manager plugs into your calendar, managing queries from people looking to book time with you. AI can also remind you of upcoming meetings, including emails and documents relating to the meeting. And some AI time managers even do follow-up messages, reminding you of tasks or comments you might forget about. 

    Examples: TimeHero, Microsoft Viva 

    Chatbots 

    We live in an always-on, always-connected world. But you can’t be there for customers every moment in person, so the next-best solution is a chatbot. They can be a hit-or-miss experience, but are most handy when you focus yours on the right tasks. And you don’t need to be a tech boffin to create a chatbot for your business. Several business platforms offer built-in chatbots that integrate with your website, social media presence or chat channels, such as WhatsApp and Telegram. Others provide drag-and-drop visual design systems so you can create flowcharts of conversations for customers. 

    Examples: Freshdesk, Flow XO, ActiveChat 

    Start your journey now 

    After two years of disruption, businesses are seeing greater value in being prepared for the future – whether through the latest tech tools, new ways of working, automation, or sustainability. No matter your business size or profit margin, you too can become fit for the future by prioritising strategic planning. 

    James Francis