Outdoor clothing retailer The North Face has a no-cost personal shopper to help you find the perfect jacket among the retailer’s 350 choices. As you converse with her, she’s likely to ask questions like, “Where and when will you be using this jacket? What type of precipitation do you expect?” and “What kind of activities will you use this jacket for?” She makes shopping much easier for The North Face customers. In fact, 75% of people who have used her services want to work with her again. They’d like to thank her in person, but they can’t: She’s actually an app, powered by Watson, the super-smart artificial intelligence (AI) computer owned by IBM.
“Artificial intelligence” conjures images of the charismatic, human-looking robots found in popular TV series and movies. In reality, AI often fuels simple-but-powerful applications that many business owners can apply to daily tasks. From writing polished contracts to finding your next great employee, here are three ways AI can make your life easier.
1. Grab the attention of skilled candidates
In today’s war for talent, it isn’t easy for small businesses to attract qualified employees. You start to wonder what’s lacking: Is it the perks, the salary, or could it be your “want ad”? Textio uses AI to help businesses write your listings better. Its predictive engine combs through millions of them from around the world, uncovering language patterns and phrases that may help lure candidates in a shorter-than-average time. Textio provides guidance on how to optimize your listing, offering suggestions such as “Needs more ‘we’ statements” and “Not quite enough bulleted content.” According to the company website, the higher your Textio score, the more likely you’ll have a plentiful talent pool to fill your next position.
2. Chat them up on Facebook with AI
Sixty percent of consumers say they’re comfortable with the notion of interacting with chatbots, computer programs that conduct conversations online. Engagement with a chatbot “delivers an entertaining, positive experience and it brings your brand personality to life,” says Adelyn Zhou, chief marketing officer of the website Topbots and author of Chatbots: 100 Successful Business and Brand Bots. If interacting with prospects and customers on Facebook is important to your business, the chatbot app, Chatfuel, can make it easier and more immediate. The free, easy-to-build chatbot (according to Chatfuel’s website, it takes about seven minutes) can converse, answer frequently asked questions, tout an upcoming event, offer special deals and even let users connect live to a manager.
3. Look over documents like a lawyer
You’ve spent an hour staring at a contract and still have no idea what it says? Legal Robot can help take the mumbo-jumbo out of “legalese.” Just take a picture of that perplexing contract and Legal Robot’s algorithms go to work, turning complex legal language into something a lay person can comprehend. Legal Robot uses machine learning techniques to understand legal language and compares the language against other contracts to spot responsibilities, rights and terms of an agreement that may differ from standard boilerplate. The tool can flag issues in the contract before you sign on the dotted line—or it can be used to read over documents you are creating and suggest improvements to the legal language.
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