AI has made remarkable strides, transforming industries, improving productivity, and pushing the boundaries of human innovation. From personalized virtual assistants to near-instant transcription, AI is fast becoming an indispensable part of the modern business landscape.
The AI technology sector is already growing an incredible 50% faster than the overall software market—and it’s easy to see why. For sales and customer support teams at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), AI can deliver transformative efficiency and productivity benefits, even for lean teams on tight budgets.
Yet harnessing the capabilities of AI requires you to first understand its implications and potential. That’s why here at Aircall we’ve teamed up with market leaders for a webinar that delves into the current attitudes of SMBs toward AI, alongside the ways in which customer-facing teams can unlock the benefits of the technology.
For a taste of the conversation, read on for more insights into AI’s potential for SMBs.
The Rise of AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for many years, but it’s only jumped into the public consciousness over the past year, as high-profile solutions and technological advancements have led to an explosion of relatively accessible innovation. In fact, today 77% of businesses are actively using or exploring AI.
Sales and support functions stand to make significant gains from these AI advancements, and it’s crucial that SMBs consider how they can embrace the technology to boost performance and productivity. As AI becomes embedded in more organizations and more functions, this will be key to remaining and building a competitive edge in today’s fast-changing markets.
There are plenty of ways that AI can have a transformative impact on small and medium-sized businesses. Tools such as Aircall’s call and voicemail transcription services can boost efficiency by streamlining transcription, note-taking, data input, and more, for example.
We’re also now seeing AI help to build more effective training and coaching programs for SMBs, including recording real-world scenarios based on call and voicemail data. These resources are enabling teams to better prepare for challenging interactions—meaning they’re always ready to deliver standout customer experiences.
As AI continues to evolve, so do the benefits it can offer. Those include its ability to support teams in identifying customer insights in less time—helping employees to focus on forging meaningful connections that drive business revenue.
Why Now Is the Time for SMBs to be Thinking About AI
With leaner budgets and teams than those of large businesses, SMBs need to identify targeted use cases for AI that will deliver the most value. However, while it’s important to take an intentional approach to AI investment, SMBs can’t afford to waste time.
According to research from Aircall (more on that in our full webinar), over half of SMBs (53%) are expected to invest in AI implementation during the next 12 months. Why? Because the benefits are clear to see, with AI delivering a range of potential improvements for SMBs—something that’s more important than ever in the current high-pressure economic environment.
Here are some of the reasons you should look to implement AI sooner rather than later:
1. Increased efficiency
By leveraging AI, SMBs can automate routine tasks. This is particularly relevant for small and medium-sized businesses, where resources are often constrained. With AI picking up the slack and carrying out repetitive, low-level tasks like transcription, note-taking, or reporting, your employees can focus on the jobs that really make a difference to your organization—such as spending more time looking after your customers or focusing on bringing in new business.
We’re not talking insignificant amounts of time, either, with workers losing an average of 2.2 hours every week to transcription and note taking, 2 hours going back through customer calls and videos, and many more hours lost to other administrative tasks that could be streamlined by new technology. Across a whole team, that’s some serious productivity potential waiting to be untapped.
2. Improved customer experience
Customer experience defines the success of your business—and AI can improve it. That’s because the technology can be used to personalize customer interactions by making it easier and faster to identify their needs and requirements. In turn, that enables teams to tailor products and services to individual clients. With that personal touch, your sales and support teams can forge stronger customer relationships, resulting in increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and revenue. In fact, 63% of employees currently highlight having enough time to create and nurture meaningful customer relationships is a challenge—AI can help free-up time to focus on nurturing those important connections.
3. Competitive advantage
Most organizations are still getting a handle on how to implement AI In their business. 56% state they currently lack the skill sets to implement AI, with a considerable 63% lacking understanding across their business about what AI can actually do for them. SMBs that act quickly can gain a competitive edge by using AI to collect and process business insights and make data-driven decisions. It’s inevitable that using AI will become standard practice, so the sooner you build familiarity with the technology, and start unlocking its advantages, the better.
4. Cost savings
It’s a common misconception that implementing AI will be costly for small and medium-sized businesses. In fact, deferring some of your more time-consuming tasks to AI can pay dividends when it comes to driving budget efficiency. There are some tasks that AI can do far more quickly and effectively than humans, with Aircall’s voice and call transcription services as a great example. Rather than spending hours typing up calls or listening to voicemails, agents get rapid access to transcriptions. Overall, by using AI your business can both boost efficiency and cut costs—it’s a win-win.
As your SMB grows, AI can also help you to scale your operations—for example, by making processes more efficient or automated—without having to hire additional staff or invest in expensive infrastructure. Putting in place these AI-empowered workflows early helps set the stage for your future growth, and it's much easier than attempting to reshape your operations once you’ve already scaled. In other words, by implementing AI now, you not only gain immediate efficiency benefits, but you also future-proof your business.
What AI Means for Your Business: Watch Aircall’s On-Demand Webinar
These are just a few of the reasons your business should consider embracing AI, but it’s really just the beginning—there’s plenty more to consider.
Tune into our Aircall AI webinar, hosted by Aircall in partnership with HubSpot, to discover how you can use AI to improve your business. Alongside advice and insights, we’ll also reveal the current state of AI in small and medium-sized businesses with original global data based on research drawn from 3,500 SMB employees.
Watch to discover:
New data revealing how other small and medium-sized businesses are responding to AI
Insights and advice on how AI can transform your sales and support teams
Top tips on using AI to boost performance and productivity
And much more.
Published on January 2, 2024.