Technology has evolved, demographics have changed, and the workplace has transformed. These global behavioural shifts have had a radical impact on business strategies and processes, deeply impacted by technological innovation and emerging digital trends. Today, the biggest challenge for Zambia companies is to quickly adapt to the new reality the cognitive age has imposed.
A new digital landscape
We are currently going through the cognitive age, a technological revolution applied to business. Today, tech solutions can process information with human-like reasoning to resolve problems, becoming an essential aspect for businesses to thrive. In this age of constant revolution, incorporating digital mega-trends into business strategies is key to meeting the new needs of consumers and standing out from competitors.
In that sense, Artificial Intelligence is becoming more and more appealing for brands to implement innovative strategies and boost their performance. In fact, research conducted by Adobe found that today, 47 per cent of digitally mature enterprises have a defined AI strategy in their business. On the other hand, by 2022, global spending on AI will grow to $7.3 billion a year, up from $2 billion in 2018 (Juniper Research).
But how is Artificial Intelligence improving business performance?
Artificial Intelligence is a technology of cognitive computing that is gaining grounds every day in the business sector. It is a set of solutions that can perform functions similar to those performed by humans. A simple way to explain its process, is that it receives, identifies and processes information to give answers and solutions like a human being would do.
It replicates human thinking to solve problems and make decisions, learning from every interaction with humans. In business, the increase of productivity, efficiency and sales achieved by AI is undeniable.
Specifically, the biggest investments in AI are coming from client-facing areas. A study by Forrester revealed that 46 per cent of companies that implement AI today use it on their sales and marketing departments, and 40 per cent use it on customer support. Why? Since companies understand that automated, personalised experiences generate 50 per cent more leads at a 33 per cent lower cost, on average.
High costs, multiple repetitive tasks, and hours spent doing non-complex tasks are some of the challenges that companies face daily that AI can quickly solve. The main advantage of this technology is its contribution to automating processes and optimising resources. Here are 7 specific ways in which AI can help the business accomplish this.
Seven ways in which AI can help improve your company’s performance
Automated tasks: this is probably the most noticeable short-term advantage for brands. AI technologies can automate the most frequent processes, questions and transactions. The resolution capabilities of AI software reduces operating costs and optimises time for companies while increasing sales and productivity. Humans are part of the equation, but now they have time to focus on complex and/or creative tasks that require second-level care. This seems especially important when, according to a McKinsey study, of the 2,000 daily work tasks, 45 per cent of them could be automated with the right tools while 60 per cent of jobs can save up to 30 per cent of their time with automation.
Cost reductions: Artificial Intelligence offers advanced solutions at a much lower cost. For instance, implementing Voice recognition and Machine Learning in Customer Service can result in cost savings of 60 per cent to 80 per cent compared to traditional call centres. AI is a powerful tool for your company’s economy that allows constant work optimisation and puts an end to the use of bureaucratic resources that cost money (and time!).
Analysis of large amounts of integrated data: today, data is pure gold for companies. Knowing your customers’ preferences and behaviours is a key aspect of a brand's success. AI solutions support high volumes of data traffic at greater speeds. The use and analysis of customer data, combined with the ability to integrate with any third-party system or CRM, represents a simple, practical, and low-cost way to discover your customers’ needs using existing resources. For instance, this will be a great tool for a marketing team to get to know their leads and, later on, to increase the company’s sales.
Increase sales: implementing a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence on an online store can increase customer retention, turn visitors into leads, and boost cross-selling and up-selling strategies by interacting with users in real time and solving their inquiries 24/7. Also, by connecting the chatbot with other apps like email marketing platforms or a CRM, leads will be nurtured and quickly guided through the sales funnel. This will significantly increase sales and customer loyalty.
Omnichannel communication: this is a good one for Customer Service. With the new consumer profile of the digital revolution, companies must adapt to the hyperconnected customer, who demands immediate responses and real-time support. Solutions that use Artificial Intelligence can understand the language and dynamics of each channel, such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter or a chatbot on their website This way, companies can communicate with their customers on any channel by adapting the messages and maintaining the experience. And this is even better: it does all this automatically.
Constant Improvements through customer interactions: solutions such as neural networks and machine learning evolve from customer interactions. They incorporate their words, ways of expressing themselves, behaviours and actions to understand customer intent more accurately each day. Solutions that utilise these technologies, such as virtual assistants, can maintain a natural and coherent dialogue with a person and provide real-time solutions.
Improvements in the recruitment process: AI business can look through applications and find the right match for specific job positions. It saves time for HR departments and it ensures non-biased processes.
The picture is clear. In order to survive this constant innovating environment, Zambian companies that haven’t implemented Artificial Intelligence yet will need to consider AI seriously in order to rise to the modern challenge. Ultimately, AI is not a cost. It is an investment to connect better with clients, either through customer service, marketing strategies or data analysis.