Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the face of business. No longer a futuristic concept, its impact is real. From tech giants like Google, Apple and Amazon to user-centric behemoths like Uber and Starbucks, everyone seems to be using AI technology to transform the customer experience (CX). But, it’s not just corporate giants that are deploying AI. Smaller organizations are following suit.
Across industries, small businesses are investigating how AI can help them drive down costs, better accommodate customers and remain competitive with their increasingly tech-driven peers. For small businesses unfamiliar with AI, the prospect of rolling it out can be daunting. But, by adopting a strategic approach, small businesses can get a head start on harnessing AI and reaping the benefits it offers.
Applying AI: Learning from Starbucks
Starbucks is one notable example of an enterprise that’s embracing artificial intelligence to optimize its CX. At the end of January, the company announced that it would offer voice ordering capabilities via Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based virtual assistant with a continuously expanding base of skills. Linking up with Amazon, the coffee giant created a new Alexa skill specifically geared toward ordering at Starbucks. The skill — called Starbucks Reorder — provides users with a voice-activated way to place their typical order (“Alexa, tell Starbucks to start my usual order.”) or check their card balance.
Currently in the beta phase, Starbucks’ evolving use of Alexa points to the experimental approach companies are willing to take when it comes to deploying AI. While big business use of AI is generating the most publicity, small businesses should also consider how they can leverage the technology to meet customer needs.
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