Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a breakthrough technology for some of the most successful enterprises. Here are three different ways AI is being used to accelerate business growth.
Some of the most revolutionary businesses of today were crafting internet strategies as early as the year 2000. Unfortunately, not every business followed its example right away. Some skeptics wrongly predicted the internet would collapse in 1996, which influenced some companies to deprioritize anything related to the web.
That was a costly mistake now that an infinite number of e-commerce businesses launched within the last two years and are thriving, while many who went against the grain in the earliest years of the internet are still trying to catch up.
The same could easily be said about Artificial Intelligence (AI) today. For example, when you shop online, AI technology picks up on your habits, targeting ads towards you, recommending products and providing insight for companies based on your browsing history.
There are three central areas where AI can drive business growth:
If you're getting your small business off the ground or are an established corporation, your business can benefit from AI.
The topic of cookies has made consistent headlines in recent years, with the future of cookies still unknown. When people visit your website and 'accept recommended cookies,' you gain vital information about their interests.
AI can collect and connect different types of data, including:
Working in the background while users continue on their browsing path, AI permits businesses to secure generous amounts of information about their users. With this data, you can make strategic decisions on how to best communicate with customers and promote new offerings.
The more data your AI software can generate and sieve through, the more targeted and personalized your marketing can become, which will, in turn, accelerate traffic for your business.
AI-powered analytics can give detailed insights into buyer preferences, behaviors, trends, and interests. As a result, this technology can help you create products that the market is enthusiastic about and reach buyers at the most opportunistic times and channels.
Monitoring competitors is also simplified using AI. There are numerous tools to help track competitor activity and performance so your business can stay ahead. For example, instead of reacting to competitor releases and announcements, AI can be used to watch competitor movements so humans don't have to.
Customer service satisfaction
One of the most significant obstacles for businesses is the ability to serve customers better. When it comes to customer support, expectations are high.
Since nine out of 10 consumers say free shipping is their top incentive for purchase, businesses are working to make sure they keep a doors-open policy if customers need support and can effectively communicate any changes in expectations.
We're not talking about those robotic, awkwardly phrased replies that you get on the company site. Instead, AI can help you communicate in a more personalized way, which can help you increase your brand reputation and grow your business exponentially.
A total of 41% of consumers prefer chat support because they will get the answer to their problem fast. It is progressively becoming the most preferred platform for customers to contact brands when they need assistance. AI can also help you track these conversations in real-time.
This type of insight can help you determine peak business hours, the amounts of agents needed to be available to customers and what kind of support customers prefer (i.e. chat or phone).
Businesses can further use it to provide feedback to agents so they can be in the best position to support the customers when they interact.
Targeted digital marketing campaigns
Just because you have excellent products or services, it doesn't mean the market will want to buy them. A marketer's job has never been easy, and when the market changes, the more arduous it can be — and the market is constantly changing.
With people spending more time online through their smartphones, tablet devices and social media, businesses have an opportunity to reach them on a vast array of channels. Companies must come across as open, communicative and responsive, with a tone that welcomes customers. Personalization is not a new concept to marketers, but it requires consistent practice, especially as times change.
A total of 87% of marketers have reported a measurable lift from their personalization efforts, generating solid results, although personalization isn't easy.
In a see-saw of market uncertainty, AI can help businesses collect and connect data to provide insights that help create successful marketing campaigns.
AI grants marketers the ability to enhance personalization at an individual level. For example, the technology can predict customer behavior based on brand interactions, so businesses can communicate at ideal times and enhance experiences. It can also recommend products and services relevant to the right buyer, which will improve brand reputation.
The power of AI
So, what can AI do for your business? The most basic answer is that AI can do pretty much anything as long as you program it correctly. Don't ignore the value AI is already bringing to leading businesses and the possibilities it can bring to yours.
While some of today's technological advancements can seem a bit intimidating, it's crucial to deepen your knowledge of how they are used and how you can use them to support your business so you don't fall behind tomorrow.
Image credit: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.com
As the co-founder of NLX, a conversational Artificial Intelligence company, I have a people-focused/solution-oriented approach.
There's a tendency to glorify AI and make it sound like it's going to take over the world. NLX was born in 2018 with the mission of helping companies transform customer contact into personalized self-service.
Along the way, I've learned that means to be a people-first leader, to always take the human approach with your products and customers.
Here's what that means...
Designing people-centric products
When it comes to a product or service-related problem, the issue is not always your ability to solve it, but the utility of a fix.
We're organizing and simplifying AI. We want to make it easy for non-technical clients to be able to take charge and build applications their users truly need. People like feeling empowered.
Furthermore, we've made the conscious choice to not build our own conversational AI model, because there are multi-trillion dollar companies heavily invested in doing just that. Instead, we ask ourselves: "How do you manage content in tens of languages while streamlining integration for better automation?".
What drove products five years ago is coming to pass and putting technologies up against each other may not provide solutions. This is why, for instance, we don't lock in unhappy customers in multi-year contracts and use pay-as-you-go pricing instead of the tiered pricing that is the norm.
Stick to human-oriented design and solutions. It will help you focus on what's truly important as you build your products and that will set you apart.
Creating value-driven cultures
As I was reflecting on the past jobs, I realized that people left for three reasons: A) They weren't paid well, B) They didn't feel respected, and C) They didn't have engaging work to do.
In building NLX's culture, we made it a point to not make those mistakes and the results have been extraordinary. To an external investor, perhaps saving a few thousand dollars by letting a resource leave might sound right, but as a founder, only you can know the real cost of losing a great colleague.
Your team imbibing and embracing the values you encourage will carry the day. Those values will extend to your customers through the experiences that are created for them.
Building customer-oriented companies
Instead of thinking about what technology you can offer your customers today, focus on their experience and work backward from the ideal solution. Doing this allows you to break the pattern of what the status quo provides. It helps you truly innovate on behalf of the end-user, your customer, your platform and your industry.
What we've learned is that customers and companies want solutions. And when they're struggling with a problem, telling them about a new tool or the latest transcription feature may not be the same thing as actually giving them a solution.
We found that one of the top three reasons people call call centers is to reset passwords. Everyone assumes this is easy to do on a website and, yet, customers always struggle because it's hard to automate resets over voice instruction, (i.e., the customer needs to go "uppercase "A', lowercase "b', zero "0'," etc.).
It's the same with automating airline bookings. My last name is Papancea and, like me, there are millions of people out there with non-regular-sounding last names. Going with the status quo of the tech today in such cases does not work. It's hard to capture last names and booking codes such that they are transcribed correctly. In building solutions for such use cases, we decide to work backward. If that mean building multi-modal capabilities to transcend channels and go beyond the boundaries of traditional automation? We do it.
If you pay attention to your metrics and listen to your customers, they will tell you what they really want. Visualize an ideal, or a delightful way in which a user would like a problem solved, and then build them an automated solution.
It's easy to get excited when you get a big customer and sad when opportunities don't pan out. The emotional oscillation can get unhealthy, so know your value and stay steady. Celebrate the smallest milestones, but also cherish things that don't work out. They always show you new paths to explore.
Image Credit: Photo by Tara Winstead - Pexels.com
Recent numbers tell the story of data breaches and SMBs. The Allianz Risk Barometer says global businesses are more worried about cyber risks than even the pandemic.
So what does an enterprise do? How do they protect their hard-earned assets from a cyber attack? Or a data breach that costs?
Here are some more small business data breach statistics to consider. Cyber insurance is the answer and here’s everything you need to know to protect your business.
What is Cyber Insurance?
These policies look after your SMBs’ cyber liability for data breaches when sensitive information like customers’ credit card numbers get hacked and stolen. They look after recovering from data loss too. And repairing a computer system after cyber attacks. The cost of a data breach can be serious.
The public relations costs can be big after a cyber event. That’s why this kind of insurance company will let customers know when there has been a breach. Here are some business insurance benefits you won’t want to overlook.
Why Cyber Insurance for Small Business is so Important
Cyber coverage is vital because you don’t want to be swamped by legal fees if there’s a hack. And because the best way to protect businesses is to be proactive when it comes to cyber threats. Like a data breach.
Here are five more reasons you need to guard against these cyber risks with comprehensive policies.
What is Covered by a Cyber Insurance Policy?
Wondering about the specifics and the fine print when it comes to what a cyber insurance policy covers? Here are five of the big ones.
Privacy Liability Coverage
Good cyber security here defends against consumer class action litigation.
Network Security From a Cyber Attack
Cyber security insurance covers you in the event of a network security failure. Like ransomware, data breaches and other issues resulting from social engineering attacks. And other types of cyber extortion. It can also cover first-party costs too.
Insurance carriers and a good insurance broker suggest this when you advertise online. Covers costs when there’s intellectual property infringement.
Network Business Interruption Coverage
A system failure from bad software is covered. Get third-party coverage by a decent indemnity company when you’ve been hacked.
Errors and Omissions
Covers you when a cyber incident causes you to breach a contract.
What is Not Covered by Cyber Liability Insurance?
Like with traditional insurance policies, cyber insurers don’t cover everything. Here are some items left out.
How Much is Cyber Insurance Cover?
What cyber insurance covers is important, but it needs to be balanced with cyber insurance costs. There will be differences based on options and business size. But a respected company like Insureon brings the median cost in at $140 per month.
There are lots of variances. However, you can get $25,000 worth of coverage for anywhere from $25 to $50 monthly.
How Much Cyber Insurance Cover Should Small Businesses Have?
How much cyber insurance coverage do you need? Enough to cover a small business from cyber exposures if:
Many small businesses spend around $1 million. Check out these types of business insurance.
How to Choose the Right Cyber Insurance for Your Business
Here are some tips for choosing the right insurance company. Remember the cyber insurance market has a lot to sort through.
Understand Third-Party Risk
A good insurance provider deals with supply chain vulnerabilities. Check out their underwriting guidelines.
Ask About Coverage
Get the details on the cyber insurance policies. Most cover both first-party coverage and third-party damages. Ask what happens if there’s a regulatory investigation.
Find Out About Exclusions
Ask an insurance company about the term “avoidable risks” and how that applies.
Ask About Response Times
You need to be fast when there’s been a breach.
How to Get Get Cyber Risk Insurance for Your Small Business
Understanding how to get a cyber insurance quote starts with following these steps. Beyond price and policies, you need to check the following cyber security boxes.
Remember to look for what are called silent cyber clauses in traditional policies.
These are security controls. To find out what kind of data was compromised.
To resolve claims from things like state and federal notification breaches due to technology errors.
ID Theft Repair/Credit Monitoring Expenses
These services should be offered to affected clients. Include data restoration.
There’s more to think about than just regulatory investigations. Checking this box will help with class-action lawsuits.
Covering all the bases is important when you’re looking at this type of insurance.
Make sure you have all of the above in a cyber liability insurance quote.
Is data breach insurance the same as cyber insurance?
No. There is a difference you need to be aware of. Cyber insurance looks after cyber risk from first-party and third-party incidents. Data breach insurance covers damage to data.
You should use local SEO, a search engine optimization technique, to appear in local search results on Google. It doesn't matter what products or services you offer; your business can benefit from local SEO. In this article you are going to learn how to do local SEO and how Google My Business works.
Local SEO in a nutshell
Do you want to know how to do local SEO marketing properly? If the answer is yes, let's have a look at local SEO in a nutshell.
To figure out how to do local SEO marketing, we need to look at how Google My Business works. When you enter a key-phrase, for example "a pharmacy open now" in the search engine, the organic content may be shown after local results. Google My Business entries appear at the top of local search results when it detects local search intent. Besides ratings, users can also see the customer reviews, which have a great impact on their decision-making process.
Which businesses should use local SEO?
All businesses that have customers from a particular area who are looking to gain new customers searching for products or services in that area need to implement local SEO. It is technique that is particularly relevant to businesses that serve their local area such as estate agents, pharmacies, gardeners or restaurants owners.
It's really important that the information that is visible in local search results is complete – it should contain the business name, phone number, address, website, photos, videos, star ratings, or customer reviews. Customers who can see all this information are more likely to use your service or buy something from you if they can see what you actually offer.
Lack of a website doesn't mean you can't appear in the Map Pack – the information presented is collected from your Google Business Profile listing. It may be the compilation of information from the web or users' suggestions.
How to choose the right local SEO agency?
There is a list of characteristics to look for when searching for a local SEO agency. However, the final decision about which local SEO company will meet your requirements may not be easy, with the large number of them on the market.
You can choose an agency with a focus on local SEO, or an agency with a broader focus, able to offer advice on other marketing channels too. If you choose a local SEO specialist, they will provide you with creative strategies in your local search campaigns. That means you're unlikely to get any help with other parts of your online marketing. If you have a limited budget, it might be better to invest in an agency that can offer help with other channels too, like social media, advertising, or email.
It's helpful if you choose a local SEO company with experience of your type of business so they have an in-depth understanding of your business upfront. To check if the SEO company is good at their job, make sure they rank well for a large number of keywords. They can't prove their skills if they're not present in local or organic search themselves.
Check reviews and ratings while looking for a local SEO agency. They can give you important information about their likely performance, strengths and weaknesses. Any local SEO agency should be able to provide you with references and work samples.
Local SEO – pros and cons
Now you know what local SEO is, which businesses it might benefit and how to choose a local SEO business, let's talk about Google My Business. Taking a look at the pros and cons can help you decide whether or not you should invest in local SEO services.
Creating local content and clearly demonstrating a local intent online can help you gather local interest. Local SEO also generates local traffic that could convert into profits – many people still prefer to support local businesses, rather to paying larger, corporate companies for the same products or services.
Adding local SEO services to your marketing efforts will swell your marketing budget. Another consideration is that it is not a one-off cost. Local SEO should be done monthly so that you remain visible to your customers. Another big consideration is that local SEO takes time, so don't expect instant results.
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