How businesses used AI to combat the pandemic

2020 was always going to be a big year for artificial intelligence. Gartner research from January shows that 14% of businesses across the world have already implemented some form of A.I., and a further 48% had plans to do so over the course of the year.  

Then COVID-19 came along, and the world changed.  

 

The Big Picture 

With use of the word “unprecedented” reaching unprecedented levels, businesses of all kinds had to make big decisions about how and whether to keep operating. A.I.’s data analysis capabilities allowed business leaders to remove gut feeling and make decisions based on evidence.  

The response of businesses to the pandemic can be divided into two camps; those who hunkered down and waited for “normal times” to resume, and those who actively adapted to the situation. In terms of A.I. adoption, the latter group is dominant; a survey by Appen found that nearly half of businesses are in fact accelerating their A.I. strategies, while fewer than one third were feeling a negative impact from COVID-19. 

So, what do these A.I. strategies look like in practice? 

 

Uses of AI during a pandemic 

Since it draws on historic data to identify patterns, the most common use for A.I. is chatbots, especially for customer serviceStraightforward customer queries, such as “How do I reset my password?” or “What is the contact number for your Finance department?” are well suited to be handled by A.I., freeing your actual Support team to handle complex questions or phone calls. 

But chatbots aren’t only being used for customer service. They can also smooth the sales process by allowing leads to find quick information about your product without being drawn into a long conversation with a salesperson. 

A.I. is also proving its worth in the internal business environment. Tools like Gong.io allow Sales Managers to assess sales calls, spotting where deals are won or lost from the language and tone of both parties. These kinds of tools have gained much more attention and traction during the pandemic, as budgets have been frozen and working patterns have made it much harder to get hold of decision-makers. 

The common thread across all these uses is a need to do more with the resources that you have. A.I. systems excel at the kind of rapid, high-volume data analysis that allows your teams to spot and understand patterns in how your leads and customers engage, and then use that data to serve them more effectively. 

 

A word of caution 

It is worth noting that the strength of A.I. systems depends on the amount of historical data fed into them. Given the amount of change businesses of all stripes have gone through in 2020, it will be important to remember that A.I. predictions are likely to be off for a while to come.  

The positive spin on this is that we have now gathered a huge body of data on how our customers and prospects react in the face of massive change to day-to-day operations. This data needs to be stored separately somewhere and preserved for next time upheaval hits the world of business. 

 

The Spotler Angle 

Spotler have been advocates for the transformative power of artificial intelligenceAs the first marketing automation tool to roll out A.I. back in 2018, we have experienced firsthand how the insights it provides can deliver value. Spotler’s A.I. module analyses the contents and audience of email campaigns, predicts what the Click-Through-Rate will be, and offers ways to improve it.  

Our experience is that many of the priorities that existed before the pandemic are still there for marketers. The kind of language which people engaged with has not shifted significantly, and several of our key engagement metrics have improved over the two lockdowns.  

 

Your next steps 

If you’re ready to find out how A.I. can super-charge your marketing efforts, set up a call with one of our sales team here. 

Still need more? Then download our handy guide to A.I. in Marketing Automation. 


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