How Machine Learning Can Help Small Businesses

Machine learning has made a quick journey from an emerging trend to one of the irreplaceable tools under many companies’ belts. In 2020, ML is a necessity rather than a buzzword. It helps small businesses compete with industry giants effectively while reducing their expenses and expanding their client base.

Forbes estimates that the global machine learning market can be estimated at $ 7.3 billion, and analysts expect this figure to reach $ 30.6 billion in 2024. Regardless of the niche that your company occupies, familiarizing yourself with the basics of machine learning is a worthy investment in 2020. Check out this blog entry to learn more about how ML works.

While not all companies require machine learning to boost their growth, a lot of startups and small businesses can leverage this technology to occupy a winning position on the market. In this article, we’ll have a look at how you can apply ML to improve various aspects of your business, from customer experience to increasing sales.

Automation of Various Processes

Currently, ML-powered software is best suited to automate routine tasks that can’t be managed by other algorithms. Machine learning can enable small businesses to relocate their employees to more important positions where creativity and human input play a crucial role, instead of wasting the limited resources and talent on mundane tasks. Automation of various administrative processes also improves employee performance by freeing up the time to focus on the objectives in their area of expertise.

Machine learning can help with everything from providing new customers with personalized tours to helping with bookkeeping. In accounting, ML is applied to generate and process invoices automatically based on specific requirements for each customer. In the interaction with customers, machine learning algorithms can provide a way to handle routine conversations without using the employee’s time.

Increasing the Efficiency of Hiring and Employee Retention

Small businesses often struggle with establishing a comprehensive hiring process. Establishing an in-house HR department with lots of employees might be too costly. As a result, the bulk of work connected to hiring new employees falls on the shoulders of a single person, which can be exhausting and ineffective, both for your company and workers.

Software that relies on machine learning to automate some of the repetitive tasks and manual work that doesn’t require direct interaction between the two parties. For instance, Google Hire and other applicant tracking software scout the web to find appropriate resumes and profiles to match given job descriptions. These systems can subsequently contact the prospective applicants and schedule interviews with no to minimal human input.

For your employees, AI-powered systems can constantly monitor the performance, identifying the most talented and rapidly promoted individuals. The software can then recommend projects or other opportunities that are likely to inspire these workers, improving talent retention.

Improving Customer Experience

Chatbots are becoming more and more competent at taking a part of the burden off technical support teams by using artificial intelligence. These tools are equipped with natural language processing algorithms that allow them to understand each customer’s issue. Chatbots can answer the majority of generic queries without employee involvement in a human-friendly manner that will appeal to your customers. Although there are complex cases when a worker’s assistance is required, machine learning can help you avoid wasting manpower on simple and routine tasks.

Personalizing the Marketing

Personalized marketing can increase your revenue by 38% by showing your customers ads based on their activity on your website. Machine learning enables personalization by processing customer data and generating predictions on what products to recommend to each of your clients without human input. Therefore, utilizing ML-powered tools is significantly more efficient and reliable than using other time and effort-consuming methods.

Implementing machine learning is also a viable decision for small businesses with modest budgeting because there are numerous ready-to-use solutions you can apply instead of developing these algorithms from scratch. Services like Attraqt and RightMessage will look at all customer interactions, types of transactions they conduct via your resource, what products they buy together most often, and other aspects of your clients’ digital presence that can help design relevant recommendations and personalized messages.

Increasing Sales Efficiency

Small and large businesses alike strive to allocate their sales representatives to the most promising leads to improve conversion rates. It would be extremely wasteful to hire a team of reps simply to strike a conversation with every customer that visits your website. Follow-up emails after purchases and constant monitoring of promising leads also represent the tasks that are necessary but daunting for human employees.

Machine learning powers software solutions like Drift, providing chatbots and other conversational software that handles all these procedures without human input. These programs can conduct a conversation, identify new leads, send prospective clients to human reps, and understand what emotions a phone call carries by analyzing the customer’s intonations. ML also enables companies to use machines to build rapport by analyzing the customer’s social media profiles in open access and the information about each client in the company’s databases.

Enabling Real-Time Decision Making

Making decisions relying on machine learning algorithms can backfire in many situations, so you should check whether this tool applies to a certain situation. In particular, ML can be effective in dealing with the following:

  • monitoring human error and collecting insights into functioning and failures of various processes within the company;
  • analyzing the company’s supply chain efficiency and productivity;
  • improving the accuracy of estimation of the deadlines and budgets for future projects.

Why Should You Use ML in Your Small Business?

In the past several years, machine learning has evolved from a computer science field of study to a valuable business instrument. With the abundance of modern services used for numerous specific tasks, you don’t need special expertise to implement ML into your company’s process.

Machine learning is becoming more and more accessible to a broader audience and businesses of various sizes, allowing small businesses to compete with larger companies. It helps increase the sales, automate many tasks that drain resources, such as hiring and customer support, and it can be incredibly effective to generate data-driven predictions in real-time. Injecting ML into your small business, hence, can turn out to be a rather inexpensive and effective solution to many issues all at once.

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Author: Alex Zubkov

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