The past year has seen an explosion in artificial intelligence-based technologies, with huge advances dazzling us with everything from one-click children’s stories to award-winning artwork. This relatively accessible AI playground has brought a mainstream focus to AI tools, including for businesses of all sizes.
What seemed like the preserve of science fiction only a few years ago is now firmly rooted in reality, with research from PwC suggesting that AI could contribute $15.7 trillion per annum to the global economy by 2030—more than the current output of China and India combined.
One thing is for sure—AI is here to stay and it’s already revolutionizing customer-facing teams at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Whether you’re looking for big gains in efficiency, wanting to deliver the best possible customer service, improve onboarding or training, or simply to strengthen your competitive advantage, AI is a tool not to be ignored.
The importance of AI for modern sales and support teams
The advances in artificial intelligence (AI) over recent years have been staggering. AI has gone from being a niche technology with plenty of potential to a resource that can genuinely transform your business, giving your sales and support teams considerably more time to focus on the jobs they do best.
With such a whirlwind transformation, it’s easy to get left behind. Research from McKinsey highlights the average number of AI capabilities an organization uses has doubled during the past five years, and we’re now seeing that small and medium-sized businesses that embrace AI can gain a considerable advantage.
However, it’s easy to be wary of new technologies, and many people have legitimate concerns—whether around the loss of meaningful human relationships, or concerns over job losses. Yet deployed in the right way, your sales and support teams can supercharge their impact with AI.
As PwC explains, businesses that fail to adopt AI could quickly find themselves undercut on turnaround times as well as costs. As a result, these companies stand to lose a significant amount of their market share.
But it seems businesses are ready to embrace AI. According to IBM, around 44% of companies today are looking to make serious investments in AI and integrate it into their business, and it’s easy to see why. After all, investing in AI can result in everything from faster deal and resolution cycles to reduced manual work and better training and onboarding.
All of this enables your sales and support teams to focus on the jobs that deliver the most value and best serve your customers, instead of getting tied up in repetitive manual work.
The benefits of AI for sales and support teams
It’s clear that ignoring AI is not an option, with 77% of businesses already actively using or exploring AI, but what are the specific ways that it can start delivering impact for your business? To help you get to grips with the real-world applications of AI, here are just some of the benefits AI can provide for your sales and support teams:
AI can supercharge your sales and support teams, helping them to work more efficiently. That’s because they no longer need to worry about the small details, with AI-based technologies such as Aircall’s call and voicemail transcription features helping your teams to handle time-consuming tasks such as writing up calls or tracking down customer information.
Conversational assistants meanwhile, such as HubSpot’s ChatSpot, can also make a big difference to your productivity, by drafting follow-up emails, providing status updates, or identifying prospects. This results in faster operational workflows, which is especially beneficial when teams are stretched for resources.
Enhanced operational efficiency
There are plenty of ways that AI can improve the operational efficiency of your business. From rapidly summarizing conversations, to instantly finding answers and using the technology to draft messages, AI enables your sales and support agents to focus on more important aspects of their work.
As just one example, a partnership between OpenAI and workplace collaboration platform Slack has already resulted in a beta conversational interface powered by ChatGPT, enabling teams to achieve all of the above automatically within Slack.
Streamlined workflows and processes
AI is also a fantastic resource when it comes to streamlining workflows and processes within your business, giving more time back to your employees. It can pick up simple customer requests, for example, enabling customers to help themselves, before transferring bigger issues to agents who can provide more in-depth support.
Effective integration alongside your existing phone, help desk, and CRM can further help to streamline workflows and processes, providing customer-facing teams with everything they need to accelerate sales and support processes in one place. This can reduce manual admin and free up more time for impactful work that drives the business forward.
Improved prospect and customer service or experience
Your sales and support agents should always be there to provide that additional personalized touch when it comes to customer service, but AI can play a key role in supporting your teams.
Reecall, for example, is an AI-enhanced inbound call management and productivity solution that can provide helpful and contextualized responses. It can be integrated directly with Aircall’s business phone solution, meaning Aircall users can easily use it to reduce wait times, qualify customer needs, and speed up resolutions by auto-assigning topics and tickets.
This is just one example of how AI can provide a 360-degree view of customers, helping your business to understand every interaction you’ve had with them. AI can track those touchpoints and analyze them, making it easier to understand past experiences and tailor your support to specific customer requirements.
Access data-driven insights
AI can also have a positive impact when it comes to providing valuable and comprehensive data-driven insights. While your sales and support agents currently need to spend hours transcribing or trawling through notes to discover the information that can make all the difference to customer service, AI can carry out the task in minutes.
Using AI, you can rapidly identify and share urgent insights from calls or voicemails without the need for manual transcription, transforming customer service and saving valuable time for your employees.
Enhanced onboarding and training
AI can get new team members up to speed quickly, alongside helping to develop existing employees. Whether creating interactive learning modules, using chatbots to assist in training, or recording customer interactions for future use, there are plenty of ways your teams can benefit from using AI.
Aircall’s transcription features are a fantastic example of how AI can help to grow your people. It’s not just about turning audio into text, but instead can support your business in creating a wide range of resources for training. This includes real-world scenarios that can be used to demonstrate learnings or best practices, delivering more effective onboarding as a result.
Accelerated deal cycles
Using AI, sales teams can move faster, with accelerated deal cycles just one of the benefits. On average, employees currently spend 2.2 hours writing notes and transcribing. They spend 1.7 hours listening to voicemails, and even longer listening to calls and videos. They don’t need to, and can instead let AI focus on time-consuming tasks such as transcription or lead scoring. This means your teams can instead spend their efforts selling your products.
Together, all of these benefits help to deliver one thing—increased revenue. When your support teams and sales agents use AI to streamline busy work, they have more time to spend dealing with customers, and your customers enjoy better, more personalized support. That means they see the best your business has to offer, making it more attractive, and keeping them coming back for more.
Conclusion: It’s time to invest in AI
Change is never easy, but the benefits of artificial intelligence are clear to see, especially for small and medium-sized businesses where resources are often limited. AI can prove a revolutionary addition for any sales or support team, providing an additional pair of virtual hands to pick up the slack where needed most.
Yet while AI is an essential tool for businesses today, it shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for people. Instead, it’s a tool to empower teams to focus on the meaningful, impactful elements of their work, and to streamline the manual, and time-consuming tasks that block productivity.
It’s clear that AI-based solutions, such as Aircall’s call and voicemail transcription services, can make a huge difference to your organization. It can boost operational efficiency, streamline workflows, enhance customer service, provide increased insights, and support more effective training—and that’s just the beginning. As AI gets more advanced, businesses and their employees are set to reap the rewards, with machines providing support in an increasing number of areas.
It’s critical that small and medium-sized businesses invest in AI sooner than later if they don’t want to fall behind competitors. Why not see what AI can do for your team? Book a demo to see Aircall’s cloud-based phone solution AI-powered transcription software in action so you can start boosting your customer-facing team’s productivity.
Published on January 2, 2024.