AI innovations have made it more accessible than ever for small businesses but with more choices comes more responsibility.

customer service rep wearing a headset while sitting at a desk with two monitors

There are many ways that companies use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and one of the more popular ones is AI-powered chat. AI has become more accessible, thanks to recent innovations and public access to tools like Google’s Bard. What was once exclusively available to large corporations with deep pockets, is now an option for businesses of all sizes

With more options comes more responsibility. If you’re an SMB owner who’s interested in using AI, don’t be afraid to take the plunge. Just be sure to have a clear understanding of your needs before diving into the capabilities of the technology. 


Use your expertise in your business as an anchor as you begin exploring the world of AI.


What to do before choosing an AI-powered chat platform

Define your business goals

What are you trying to achieve with an AI-powered chat platform? Do you want to improve customer service, grow deflection, or generate leads? Once you have your goals identified, you can start to pinpoint the specific pain points that are preventing you from achieving them.

Get the data

You’ll want to have a healthy mix of qualitative and quantitative data about these pain points. You can survey your customers, analyze your website traffic, or talk to your employees. The more data you’re able to gather, the better equipped you will be to identify the root cause of the problem.

Analyze the data

Look for patterns and trends in the data you’ve gathered to see what is causing the most problems. Is it long hold times that lead to call drop-off? Is it shoddy data collection marred by human error? Is it low customer satisfaction because of difficulty finding information on your website? Find the pain points and understand why they exist.

Prioritize your pain points

It can be helpful to try and assign them a value – not all pain points are created equal. Whenever you’re investing in something, you want to be able to get a strong return on your investment. Prioritizing the pain points so that you can focus on the ones that will have the biggest impact on your business is a great way to set up for those returns.


How to assess different platforms

Understand the key technology terms

To understand the differences between the platforms being reviewed, it’s helpful to start with an understanding of the technology powering them. Some key terms to know:

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) – a field of computer science that deals with the interaction between computers and human languages, helping computers to understand natural language. NLP is used in applications that range from speech recognition to chatbots.
  • Conversational AI – a type of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that allows computers to simulate conversation with humans. It’s often used for chatbots, intelligent virtual assistants, and other applications that require natural language processing. When chatbots are powered by Conversational AI, they are often referred to as Intelligent Virtual Assistants.
  • Generative AI – a type of AI that takes existing data and transforms it into new outputs that are similar to the original data inputs. It can be used to generate text, images, and even music.
  • Retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) is a framework used to improve the quality of the language models for generative AI applications. Using RAG can improve accuracy and make it easier for users to understand where responses come from.

Compare the features

Using your goals and prioritized pain points, look at the features of every platform that you’re considering. If one of your goals is to improve deflection to lower operating costs, you may want to find a platform that can automate Google Business Message responses in real-time.  

If adding more digital self-service features like automated scheduling is important, you’ll want to find a platform with the ability to integrate with your scheduling tools and processes.

On the functional side, the ability to train the AI on your business terminology and industry jargon is incredibly important when it comes to accuracy and providing a more human-like experience. 


Remember to look at the implementation process and what ongoing support and maintenance will look like. Having a strong understanding of platform usability can help you plan for the time investment necessary to launch and maintain the AI-powered chat experience.


Choosing the right AI-powered chat platform can be a daunting task, but it’s important to do your research and choose the right platform for your business. By following these tips, you can make the process easier and ensure that you’re choosing the best platform for your unique needs.


Contact us to discuss how we can help any size business launch AI-powered search and chat solutions that answer customers’ questions, build trust and capture leads.

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