Is Adding AI to Your Website a Viable Option for Your Business?
Know the pros and cons before you jump on the Artificial Intelligence (AI) bandwagon
There’s no denying that we’re living in a world that is speeding up daily when it comes to technology. Sometimes, there are so many new gadgets and apps out there that just trying to keep up with it all can start to get a little overwhelming.
When it comes to making the choice about what technology to incorporate into your website, take the time to weigh all of your options and choose what will make the biggest difference to drive your business forward.
Simply utilizing tech to “keep up” with the competition or to give the impression of being “current” or “tech-savvy” is not enough. You also need to know how to use it. This includes considering how best to incorporate it into your product development, website design, and marketing strategy.
Look at it this way, simply owning a high-end set of power tools doesn’t make you an expert handyman, any more than owning a car means you’re an excellent driver. You need to have the knowledge and skills to complement the equipment. Or at least have someone with the necessary know-how working with you, in order to use the tools effectively.
Some of the more recent advancements in tech have been the appearance of AI, or Artificial Intelligence, in various homes and businesses in the form of voice assistants, i.e. Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana, and the growing popularity of interactive customer support on company websites via chatbots. In fact, several years back Business Insider predicted over 80% of companies will be using chatbots on their websites by 2020. While I don’t know if we have reached the 80% mark today, chatbots have definitely become commonplace. But what exactly does all of this stuff do, and does it provide a significant advantage to warrant using it in your business?
To help answer those questions, take a look at the pros and cons of jumping on the AI bandwagon when it comes to your business website:
The PROS of Using AI on Your Website
- Faster Service – When there’s a “robot” behind the scenes dealing with customers the perks are quick responses and 24/7 accessibility. Your customers won’t get frustrated wasting time waiting for answers or trying to find a human to speak to. Your clients that are looking for information after normal business hours will be happy that they can still ask their questions. All of this can lead to a higher rate of customer satisfaction.
- A Broader Audience – Providing voice recognition technology makes your site more accessible to users with visual impairments or mobility challenges, which broadens the scope of your business to reach a wider audience. Plus, the 24/7 customer support potential offers a very attractive feature to those people who are on the go and place a high value on convenience.
- Low Costs, Higher Profits – The use of artificial intelligence equals non-human employees, which means you don’t have to pay a salary or benefits to a portion of your customer support team, or any other area where you’re using the technology, for example – taking orders or marketing. This helps keep operating costs low, which translates to higher profits for your business.
Using AI in different aspects of your business can help keep your operating costs low, which results in higher profits.
- Catering Products and Services to Customers – Virtual shopping assistants can learn about customers’ habits and tastes as they shop online and use this information to suggest products and services they might find appealing. It’s like having your own personal shopper along with you as you explore the internet, to help you sift through the numerous options and zero in on the ones that are most likely to work for you.
There’s a definite trend toward this technology when it comes to consumerism because 43% of voice-enabled device owners use voice assistant technology to help them shop. Adding this tech to your web interface becomes another way of knowing your customer and adapting your marketing and business strategies to meet their specific needs.
The CONS of Using AI on Your Website
- Limited Abilities – Robots might be fast and never need to sleep, but that doesn’t mean that they have all the answers. When all is said and done, technology can only do what someone else has programmed it to do. In the case of chatbots, for example, predetermined responses provide limited support. Unlike a human, there’s no adapting, improvising or emotional responses present to handle individual situations.
- Frustrated Customers – If customers can’t get the answers they’re looking for or are never able to actually speak to a real human being, this can lead to frustration. People crave attention, validation, and empathy, and chatbots don’t possess the capacity to deliver these feelings.
- Expensive – Wait, what? Wasn’t one of the pros all about saving money? It all depends on how complex you need or want your AI to be. The more complexity you need means the more money you’re going to spend. The trade-off for the higher expense is more intelligent bots that can deliver more targeted responses, thereby keeping customer frustration levels low, but this might not be viable for smaller companies. There’s a fine line between making the tech worth your while and having it work against your goals.
- Reactive, not Proactive – A machine is still a machine, which means it needs to be told what to do. If you’re looking for someone to take some initiative to help you with a problem, odds are you won’t find it from a non-human source.
At their core, AI platforms respond to stimuli, like questions, certain keystrokes or specific speech. So if they don’t get the right input, they won’t deliver any helpful output. As for emotional reactions and understanding, an artificial source won’t give you any, no matter how intelligent the design. For customers looking for a personal feel, the lack of human interaction can be off-putting.
Oddly enough, a lot of the cons mirror a lot of the pros. It’s important to remember that every business is unique in its needs and operations. The decision of what is best for YOUR business ultimately lies with you.
By 2021, companies expect to shell out over $57 billion on AI platforms, but that doesn’t mean every business should. Now that you know some of the ups and downs of incorporating AI into your website, you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s the way you want to go to move your company in the right direction.
If you’re looking to create a strong web presence, or get an evaluation of your current website, we’re ready to assist you with strengthening your brand and reaching more customers. Let our experts evaluate your business needs and put a plan into action that will keep you on a track toward growth and success.