Technology · February 25, 2021

5 Key Applications for AI in Business

From driving directions to mobile check deposits, artificial intelligence, or AI, has been integrated into almost every part of everyday life. Still, many small business owners are under the mistaken impression that AI is complex, costly and only available for larger organizations.

In fact, even the smallest companies can use AI in business to become more effective, efficient and profitable. Whether you're looking to standardize customer service quality, improve lead generation or streamline hiring, AI can automate many important aspects of your business operations. Here are five key areas where companies of all sizes are increasingly relying on AI.

1 Customer service

Today's consumers expect instant answers—that's why chatbots are one of the most popular types of AI-powered software. Chatbots are found on many e-commerce sites, allowing customers to use instant messaging to speak directly with an AI-powered company representative, 24/7.

Certain apps and platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Bold360 use natural language processing to train chatbots to answer common support questions, give product recommendations and resolve any outstanding issues the customer might have. That kind of personalized service streamlines the customer service process, improves connection with the customer and boosts sales.

2 Managing customer relationships

Customer relationship management, or CRM software helps business owners learn about their customers, offering an essential service for businesses of all sizes. CRM software keeps track of every interaction a business has with its customers, whether via email, phone or social media. In essence, this management software helps business owners better understand their customers' needs and how they interact with the company.

By leveraging AI in business, you can turn all the customer interaction data you're already collecting into actionable steps, such as a timed marketing push or a special offer. This can help your business approach customers where they are and stay ahead of their competitors. In fact, some of the biggest CRM platforms are integrating AI directly into their software to help small business owners better analyze their data.

3 Human resources

When a small business has an open position, it's usually up to the owner to find and hire someone. That often means finding candidates and then reviewing dozens or even hundreds of cover letters and resumes.

With AI-powered platforms like HireScore, business owners can automate time-consuming tasks, such as analyzing and organizing resumes, building candidate profiles, scheduling interviews and updating candidates during the process. AI can save time, money and resources—and even help eliminate bias.

4 Competitive intelligence

For many small business owners, it can be difficult to keep up with competitors on all of their various online channels. Who are they, what are they doing, what are they offering and where are they meeting their customers?

From video to social media posts to websites, AI platforms such as Crayon or Klue can track what competitors are doing across all of their digital platforms. This provides detailed data and competitive intelligence that allows small business owners to make adjustments and stay a step ahead.

5 Cybersecurity

While cyberattacks aren't top of mind for many small business owners, they can be a serious threat. Because many small businesses don't have a dedicated IT department to keep an eye on their systems and networks, they're especially vulnerable to bad players.

That's where AI comes in. Platforms such as Anomali, Cylance and Crowdstrike use AI to detect and prevent digital threats and suspicious activity before getting into a company's network. These AI-powered security programs look for unusual activity or irregularities, such as an unknown vendor or an unusually large order, and raise the alarm early.

AI is changing business

As a company grows, so does the amount of data it collects and stores. Analyzing and leveraging that data to make timely business decisions can become a huge task.

Thanks to improvements in AI and machine learning, businesses of all sizes and across all industries now have the tools to target new audiences, communicate with consumers and expand their clientele in a more informed and efficient manner.


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