Implementing Artificial Intelligence in your business seems like a daunting task that only Silicon Valley tech giants can do. However, almost any company can leverage the benefits of AI. How? Here are five ways that can be implemented rather easily.
1. Leverage AI-based email-marketing
Email marketing is a strong sales driver for many businesses and if you haven’t used email marketing before, this is a good time to get started. And if you are already using it, it’s time to fine-tune it with Artificial Intelligence!
Maybe you have already segmented your customers into several groups. In this case, the employee writes separate content for each segment. The email is sent. The employee then tries to make sense of the tracked metrics and make improvements for the next campaign. The fine-tuning tends to rely more on gut feeling than data.
It will not surprise you that AI applications are a game-changer in this process. A few examples:
- Zeta Global's product is a great example of how to personalize content: Their software analyzes customer behavior, e.g. how they interact with your website, mobile app, and previous emails. Based on this data, the algorithms then automatically suggest personalized content that is likely to boost customer engagement.
- AI also ensures the right timing of your email delivery. Seventh Sense uses AI to make sure your email is delivered exactly at the time when your prospect is most likely to engage.
- Automizy predicts the success rate of your email based on over 1 million campaigns in their database. The algorithms also do automatic A/B testing and optimization based on the gained insights.
As you can see, it is easy to upgrade your email marketing with AI. Using these tools will not only improve your sales effectiveness, e.g. through better personalization or timing. They will also save you precious time in coming up with personalized content.
2. Use AI-based invoice management
Invoice management is a tedious task for businesses of all sizes and the odds are high that your business spends time dealing with some of them.
In most companies, the process currently looks something like this: Invoices are received, get separated, and – if paper-based – are then scanned individually. Afterward, an employee has to manually extract the relevant invoice information (date, invoice number, gross amount, etc.). As these time-consuming processes occur frequently, the costs quickly add up.
Luckily, Artificial Intelligence will help you to automate many of the invoice-related processes, especially in the area of invoice separation and data extraction. AI-based invoice management systems, such as Abacus or Rossum, are readily available on the market.
Let’s begin with invoice separation. Imagine you scanned 100 invoices together, resulting in a large single file. AI-based programs can now separate invoices automatically. What used to imply tedious manual work, is now done in a few seconds.
AI will also help you to extract invoice data. The algorithms will scan through the image, identify relevant fields, and extract the information. Contrary to non-AI software (e.g. software of most established OCR vendors), you don’t need to create templates that tell the software where to find what information. AI will do the work for you.
In case you wonder how AI-based systems perform this kind of magic: The algorithms can “see” visual patterns and add labels accordingly. This is also called image classification.
In the case of invoice separation, for example, the AI recognizes the beginning and end of an invoice. The algorithms can then separate the invoices accordingly. This can be achieved using image classification.
3. Integrate customer service chatbot
Imagine your company had 24/7 customer support without paying any extra money. Further, think about current support processes getting automated while maintaining the same service quality. Who would not like to have that?
This utopia can become a reality thanks to AI-based bots. These bots are increasingly often integrated into online shops or media platforms. Providers like LivePerson and GetJenny help businesses save money with relatively little configuration effort or extensive programming.
How can bots help to save money in your business? One example would be answering repetitive customer questions. This gives employees additional time for more demanding tasks and reduces customer service costs.
Also, bots reduce the amount of research needed. Customer support teams often spend a lot of their time researching answers. A bot, however, can provide your team with answer suggestions it has learned from previous questions.
Keep in mind that AI is not there to replace your support team. Artificial Intelligence helps you to automate repetitive tasks at the first support level and free up your time to provide a better service on more complex matters.
4. Automate assessment of job applicants
Hiring great talent is one of the most crucial things in a company. But this doesn’t mean you have to spend countless hours assessing job applications. You might have guessed it: there are AI solutions for that. Spend your time making decisions, not preparing them.
There are many AI recruitment software on the market, such as ideal, or CVViZ. They help you to streamline your hiring process and filter for the right candidates. The AI will continuously learn from the decisions you take and further optimize its assessment.
Let's see how this looks in practice:
CVViZ scans resumes and gives applicants a relative ranking score. The AI can mimic an HR specialist or domain expert. It not only looks for keywords but also understands the resume contextually.
AI-based resume screeners will output you with a list of all applicants. The overall ranking will include weighted results in various categories. With only one click you will have the strongest applicants on the top, and the weakest at the bottom. You could now, for instance, shortlist candidates and invite them for interviews.
What used to take hours is now a matter of minutes. This reduces the costs of your HR process. It also leaves you with more time for those candidates that matter!
5. Improve communication efficiency
Employees spend several hours a day communicating in writing, let it be email or instant messaging. This leaves little time for deep work and costs straight money.
A simple calculation: Imagine a company has ten workers who spend one hour a day with unnecessary communication. This is 50 hours per week. Given an average hourly wage of €30, this amounts to €1,500 per week. Again, AI tools can be used to improve your firm’s communication efficiency.
It might not seem a lot to save a few seconds when writing an email. But think about how many emails you write per day (per month, per year). A few seconds add up to minutes, minutes add up to hours. Emailtree takes this principle even further by integrating email responses with data in your operating systems.
Another AI-based feature to save you time and money is automatic calendar scheduling. Tools like Calendly or Bizzabo, which previously acquired x.ai, connect to all your calendars and coordinate the best time to meet with your guests.
General vs. specific intelligence
In all cases, the AI involved is not a human-like robot with super intelligence. Rather, it has specific intelligence for a particular problem. The good thing is: This makes it feasible to integrate for almost all companies. And by adding together many small improvements using AI, you can save your business a lot of money in total.
A general guideline to where apply AI
The 5 previous examples were specific ways of how you could easily implement AI in your business to save money. These specific guidelines are, of course, not perfect. Maybe they are not all applicable to your business. Or there are numerous more use cases that were not covered in our examples.
Here is a more general approach. How can you identify those processes in your business that are suitable for an AI application?
- The task is repetitive: You should use AI to get rid of tedious daily tasks, not to find a new strategic direction for your company.
- Logical rules cannot describe it: If it can, you don’t need AI – go for Robotic Process Automation instead.
- A skilled human can decide on it in less than a few seconds: AI excels at automating decisions with clear input and related output. If a skilled human needs to think hard about each decision, don't try to automate the task (for now).
If a process fulfills all three criteria it is suitable for AI involvement. We have a separate article for more detailed guidelines on how to find processes that AI can automate.
- There are easy ways how you can leverage AI to save money in your business today. AI need not be a daunting task.
- Leveraging AI-based email marketing saves time and increases sales effectiveness. It is easier and cheaper to come up with personalized content and the right timing.
- Using smart invoice managers automates tedious accounting tasks such as invoice separation and data extraction.
- Integrating a chatbot reduces the time spent on researching problems and answering repetitive questions.
- Using AI to automatically assess job applicants can cut out the time-consuming task of hiring.
- Several AI-based tools and features can improve communication efficiency at your firm. Possible use cases are automatic calendar scheduling or Google's Smart Reply function for emailing.
- In general, a process has to fulfill three criteria to be suitable for AI automation. It should be repetitive, have no clear logical rules, and a skilled human should need only a few seconds to take the right decision.