Technology & Innovation

How AI can help your business to be more productive

All businesses long to be more productive, regardless of shape, size or industry. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to boost productivity in the workplace for all.

The first step to increasing productivity is to move your business into the cloud (that’s if it’s not there already). As a small business owner, you probably have to work long hours to keep up with the challenge of maintaining and growing your business – what with the need to manage admin and find new customers, among plenty of other things.

However, cloud computing can help to manage those processes and tasks more efficiently meaning you can do business anywhere in the world – be it at home, on the sofa or on a sunbed at the beach – and ultimately be more productive.

With cloud computing comes the ability to integrate AI into your business. Watch the short video below to find out more about AI.

From the report Optimism and Ethics – An AI Reality Check, respondents identified the clearest benefit of AI as the elimination of repetitive workplace tasks. In fact, this was the most selected response, with almost half (48%) of respondents from the UK tech community marking the elimination of repetitive tasks as a key benefit.

Here are four ways you can use AI to reduce the time required to manage your admin, leaving you with more time to be productive.

1. Set up a smart assistant to respond to your customers

Whether you call it a smart assistant or an AI chatbot, this tech is being used by businesses across the globe. From Google and Apple to the Marriott International, businesses are beginning to reap the benefits.

How can AI help you to respond to customer queries quicker? Customers can ask their questions and instead of having to repeat your answers to common queries each time, you can programme a smart assistant to answer for you.

That will mean your customer services team will have more time to deal with escalated issues and other problems that are less frequent, therefore making you more efficient.

And if you can reply quickly, you’ll keep your customers on board. Remember, from happy customers flow increased sales. It’s a win, win!

2. Use AI to reduce your business admin and be more productive

We rely on our mobile phones for everything: the weather, directions, music and more (including making the occasional phone call…). So, why are so many businesses still carrying out administrative tasks on the likes of spreadsheets, fragmented datasets or even pen and paper?

It’s not uncommon – 55% of SMEs are still using these methods to track their data. It’s no wonder our Sweating the Small Stuff report revealed small and medium businesses spend 120 days per year on admin alone.

That’s just over a third of each year that they are losing to tasks that add no value to their business to the external markets. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.

AI can enable you to do business efficiently. Communicating with a smart assistant is as easy as sending a message to a friend on a mobile phone. However, your new (smart assistant) friend will deal with your admin requests so you don’t have to.

3. Use an accounting smart assistant to manage your expenses

Let’s face it, admin leaves you with less time to focus on what matters to you most. The reason you set up your business. Your passion. With accounting smart assistants now capable of managing everything from money to people, you can do just that.

Imagine your average day running your business. Now imagine it again but this time without the need to dedicate hours to file your expenses, or having to wait in line to speak to a customer services assistant. It’s a no brainer as to what you would prefer, right?

Not everyone desires to be an accounting professional. Often entrepreneurs and small business owners take on this role without fully understanding the practice. However, accounting smart assistants, programmed by specialists, are there to minimise human error and soundly complete your books first time round.

4. Use an AI-enabled CRM to compile your data

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions with AI embedded into the software could be the next insightful step your business takes. This investment could lead to your business better understanding the market you operate in and the customers you are trying to please. It’s another win, win.

A staggering 90% of start-ups fail with the key cause being a lack of market need – if customers are aboard your journey, this won’t determine the fate of your business. You won’t get caught out by not truly understanding how you can improve and adapt to suit the current market.

Communication is key. A further 14% of businesses fail due to not regularly communicating with their customers. You can’t keep customers happy without honest feedback. Don’t do it alone, make communicating with customers a priority for your whole team.

In short, AI can benefit businesses that are willing to take the leap. So why not be an early adopter and set the new norm for the business builders in the making? Futureproof your business today with any, or all, of the four methods above and ensure your business stays ahead of the competition.

Have you got any examples of how your business is using or planning to use AI in the future to be more productive? Please share your stories in the comments below and inspire your fellow business builders to get on board.