Monthly FAQ: What is AI?

Have you ever asked what exactly AI is? You probably use artificial intelligence (AI) every day without even knowing it. You might log into Netflix, for example, and the system recommends a new crime series based on the shows you've watched in the past. Or you might start typing in a search engine that predicts the phrase you are likely to enter using data from both your past searches and other people's searching history. You may have even encountered surge pricing when you used a ride-hailing service after happy hour.

Young professionals asking
What is AI? For your business, it can be a key competitive differentiator because consumers increasingly expect a personalized experience for all their products and services.

All of these are examples of AI in action.

What is AI?

In business terms, AI predicts what a consumer is likely to do or be interested in based on collected data. The result is a personalized experience for the specific customer. AI uses machine learning to mimic the human brain and actually learn from each interaction. It then uses that information to make more accurate predictions in the future.

Technology Companies are Heavily Investing in AI

Are you currently using AI to provide customers with a personalized experience? If not, you are increasingly in the minority. Almost every major technology company is investing heavily in AI, and other companies are prioritizing purchasing the solutions. By developing engines to power AI, businesses can purchase these tools to then use AI themselves without having to deal with the algorithm and programming of the engine.

You've likely seen many commercials for IBM's Watson AI engine, and there is a high probably you've also used the technology without noticing, from letting AI pick the easiest route to work in the morning to letting a spam filter decide an email message isn't important. The range of products seems to grow every day, from tools that specialize in a specific type of AI, such as natural language, to those that focus on particular industries.

Why Your Enterprise Needs AI

Your company can't afford not to use AI if it wants to maintain high levels of productivity and customer satisfaction. An Accenture study found that AI technology is expected to increase productivity by 40 percent and double economic growth rates by 2035, but companies can only see these benefits by actually using the technology.

Customers today are already very accustomed to their online experiences being personalized because it's used so effectively on top sites. We have become so used to this personalization that we notice — and not in a good way — when a company doesn't tailor an experience to our needs. It means we have to take extra steps to get what we need, which takes our time and energy. But on an even more emotional level, customers feel that a company doesn't really know or, even worse, care about their needs when the experience isn't personalized.

AI is not going away — our future lives are being built on the technology, and your customers are becoming more accustomed to personalization in every part of their lives.

How Enterprises Can Use AI

Now that we've answered the question of what is AI, the next step is knowing how to use it. While the promise of AI sounds wonderful, the most important component is figuring out how you can use the technology to grow your business, increase productivity and make customers happy.

Below are three common ways businesses can use AI:

1. Personalizing the Call Center Experience

By using AI to evaluate real-time data about the customer calling, you can anticipate the customer's issue and automatically route him or her to the correct agent. If the customer's bill is overdue, an agent specializing in collections can speed up the process. But if the customer's service is down, he or she will be sent straight to customer support. AI technology can even analyze data on customers, predict which personality type they might prefer to encounter and route the call to an agent matching that description.

2. Using APIs

One of the most common applications of AI is using APIs to integrate the technology into existing systems. This way, you can use the tools already created and merge them with your existing systems. Because data is the cornerstone of AI — meaning you must have the right data to make the predictions accurately — you can also use APIs to help connect to the best data sources.

3. Creating a Personalized Website

When potential customers visit your website, they want to find out what your company can do for them. By using AI to personalize your website, you can do more than simply recommend products. You can also customize images displayed on the site to appeal to the specific customer and list the products the customer is most likely to be interested in. For returning customers, you can use AI to predict what they are likely to do on the website. If a customer logs in to pay on the day his or her bill is due every month, AI can display a quick pay button on the home screen.

AI is Driving the Future

AI is not going away — our future lives are being built on the technology, and your customers are becoming more accustomed to personalization in every part of their lives. By starting today, your competitors will be playing catch-up to you instead of the other way around.


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