Patrick Frank, cofounder of PatientPartner.
No topic is dominating current headlines more than artificial intelligence (AI). In the past month alone, we’ve questioned the ethics of AI-aided “overemployment,” been warned about questionable AI-run news websites and seen an influx of AI-generated songs and bot listeners to music streaming services.
But as conversations about regulating AI continue, it’s clear we are now living in a future that was once only spoken about hypothetically. So, how do leaders ensure their companies don’t fall behind? How can you cut through the noise to identify how AI can make a significant impact on businesses, and what aspects of daily life should absolutely not involve AI technology?
At my company, a healthcare platform, we are implementing AI in many areas ranging from customer communications to marketing. I essentially have integrated AI into almost every area of my business. But, at the end of the day, I do not let technology make decisions for me. Rather, I use it to flush out ideas.
Let’s take a look at what can be replaced with AI and what to keep in the hands of a human.
We can’t deny that customer service is everything, no matter the size or reputation of your brand. It doesn’t matter how snazzy your technology is and how attractive the website landing page looks if you don’t deliver great customer service. That’s why I believe customer service should never be fully replaced by AI.
That said, AI could be your first line of defense for your customers’ needs when it comes to basic inquiries, such as shipping updates or commonly asked questions. An AI response as the first port of call can help streamline operations and relieve your staff of the eternal burden of email influxes. However, when it comes to a serious escalation or complicated inquiry, these require sensitivity, carefully chosen language, an appropriate tone and your unique brand voice.
One of AI’s core strengths is its ability to analyze baseline numbers and data trends in the numbers “behind the scenes” of the business. AI and machine learning are powerful tools for uncovering details like customer behavior, market trends, stock and sales patterns. You can even take this a step further and apply this information to provide predictive data so AI can make suggestions related to pricing and promotions and even simulate possible future outcomes.
Instead of spending too much time poring over spreadsheets, you can consider leveraging AI to streamline your data operations to help save your brain power and apply it to the more creative functions of business management.
Keep in mind that unique approaches and implementations should still be executed by a human, however. You shouldn’t rely on the sophistication of AI to the point where it removes your common sense instincts.
Creativity is a topic of great debate when it comes to AI. While AI might not have the ability to generate original ideas, it can provide the framework for creatives. This is especially beneficial due to its data-driven approach, meaning conclusions will be made based on hard facts. AI draws from a diverse number of sources to make sense of the mountains of information you would otherwise have to source manually.
Brainstorming is effectively a jumble of ideas, words and images, so you might find it helpful to use AI to give you something cohesive to start with. Think of it as a fast track through the research and straight to the creative phase.
AI can be effective in boosting human creativity—not replacing it. Humans should still be the design force, especially when it comes to photos and editing that are used for marketing purposes.
Copywriting is the vehicle that gets your brand voice into everything you do. Social media posts, blogs, emails—where there are words, there is a copywriter. You can, however, consider leveraging AI for all copy-related activities, which might be especially beneficial for startups that have limited marketing resources.
In other words, you might use AI to create a solid framework that a human copywriter can edit, refine and integrate your brand voice into.
Strategy And Direction
I strongly believe that formulating a strategy and broader direction for your company is one area of business where AI should never be involved. There’s a big difference between using it to help ideate and brainstorm and actually trusting concrete suggestions blindly. The effective strategy that arises from these sessions should always come from a human leader in charge.
There’s no denying that AI is getting more capable by the day. I suggest considering the ways it can make your life easier and business better—while recognizing that this is a novel technology we’re all still grasping to understand.
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