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How AI and ML are revolutionising SMEs

Dive into the world of AI and ML, reshaping customer service, administration, and decision-making for SME success.

AI and ML are changing the way we live and work. Many people think they’re reserved for tech giants, however. But increasingly we’re seeing SMEs harness the power of these tools. And the benefits are clear: artificial intelligence and machine learning can improve operations, boost customer satisfaction and help companies to outpace the competition – all of which are essential if you want your business to not only survive but thrive. 

Interested in knowing more? Here we look at the benefits of AI and ML in the business world as well as the perceived challenges. 

Customer service

We’ve probably all communicated with a chatbot online when searching our favourite store’s website. In fact, many might not even realise that when you use the chat box function, you’re not actually speaking to a human. This is one of the best examples of how technology can be used to help a business as it offers 24/7 customer support without breaks or vacations, and it’s likely to save money over time too. Even better, these chat boxes provide instant responses to customers, whatever time of the day, meaning customers are better served and we know that is crucial for customer retention and loyalty. That’s not to say there isn’t a place for human customer service agents, instead, your human team can be deployed to other areas of the business and can tackle more complex issues. 

Administration

Data entry, accounts, general admin – these are all essential tasks for business owners to complete but it’s not always easy to find the time to dedicate to them. That’s where AI and ML come in. In fact, AI can automate data entry making it faster and error-free. It can even take care of administrative tasks, report generation, and appointment scheduling meaning you and your team can focus on business-critical tasks. With more time freed up, you’ll likely be able to respond quicker around the business and can put more time into your overall strategy. 

Decision-making 

Another benefit of AI is that it provides deeper insights and can analyse large amounts of data much quicker than a human could. This makes it even easier to predict market demand, understand specific customer preferences and optimise resource allocation.

The challenges in implementing AI

Despite the benefits of AI and ML, we can’t ignore the challenges surrounding it. This includes the difficulties in managing vast data storage, recruiting skilled AI professionals, and not to mention the rapid changes in the AI landscape. Indeed, implementing AI isn’t a one-stop approach. Instead, companies need to continuously innovate to ensure they can keep pace with competitors. Another challenge regarding data privacy and seamless integration with existing systems can also not be ignored. 

That’s not to say AI can’t be implemented successfully or shouldn’t be. In fact, a whole host of SMEs can benefit from it. For example, clothing retailers could tailor their marketing based on customer preferences, manufacturers could predict demand and streamline their supply chain, law firms could draft documents quicker and more accurately and a restaurant could use the technology to optimise their staff during busy times. 

Of course, embracing AI might come with challenges, but the benefits far outweigh them. It just requires a little care and dedication and a strategy behind it. 

Chirag Shah, founder and CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance and Pulse has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and a deep understanding of the needs of UK SMEs. 

In 2011, he founded Nucleus, a leading alternative finance provider, to offer flexible and tailored solutions for SMEs across various sectors and stages of growth. With an understanding of the challenges that UK SMEs face in the current economic climate, Chirag launched Pulse in October 2022, a free-to-use service that helps businesses and accountants gain insights into financial performance with AI-powered data visualisation and personalised dashboards. Chirag is not only committed to driving growth and innovation in the UK business ecosystem, but he’s also helping SMEs better understand their data to boost their profitability and guide them towards success. 

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