4 Biggest Misconceptions About AI

May 24, 2019


When most people hear the words “artificial intelligence,” the first thing that comes to mind is an all-knowing, sentient machine that can outsmart and overpower any human being. Artificial intelligence is something big and scary. It’s a threat that will take away our jobs and livelihoods, replace us all, and ultimately obliterate the human race.

Even if that ultimately ends up being true, I do not believe we are anywhere close to that scenario. I also believe that these powerful misconceptions around AI actually prevent us from building a positive relationship with it. 

Misconception #1: AI is actively looking to replace people.

AI, in and of itself, is technology with no volition. It does not seek to replace the workforce for a smarter and cheaper machine alternative. It is post-industrial tech capitalism at its finest doing that, not AI. It may seem like a subtle difference, but it’s huge. AI gets all the blame, but the capitalistic paradigm is a lot more accountable for the threat to our livelihoods than the technology itself. [Read related story: How AI and Machine Learning Are Changing Cybersecurity]

Misconception #2: AI is ridiculously smart or savvy.

AI could be ridiculously simple in its applications. It can be fragmented and disjointed, as opposed to a microchipped, perfected version of the human mind. AI can do simple things, like learn how to play checkers, identify patterns in large data sets, or any straightforward activity that just requires crunching more data than a human can. AI is not necessarily a competitor trying to outperform the human mind, but possibly an extension of our senses and capabilities.

Misconception #3: AI is complex and difficult to understand.

Coding for AI can get very complex, but the concept of it is simple: It’s any technology that mimics our natural …

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How to Identify Third-Party Vendors to Help You Scale

May 24, 2019


After five years, only 56% remain in business.

As they put together the pieces necessary for growth, startups quickly discover that the first step is also one of the hardest – finding the right people. Without a capable and committed team, even the best ideas struggle to get off the ground.

Founders cannot simply find and onboard talent, though. They must also find people who can help build a sustainable, empowering culture and then learn how to keep as many of those people around as possible. As if that weren’t enough, founders also have to be able to recognize when someone isn’t a good fit. Those hard decisions can make or break startups with limited time and resources.

Product decisions, too, affect the odds of survival. What problem does the product solve? How much is that solution worth, and what are people willing to pay for it? Founders can’t rush into implementing their ideas before they truly understand the needs of the audience and the likelihood that the product will fulfill those needs.

Not every organization fits into the same mold. Startups pride themselves on their disruptive and agile natures, yet many founders are afraid to step out and try something truly different – especially when board members and other influential figures advise caution. However, standing out from the crowd might be the most important factor in startup success.

Where partners come into play

With so many challenges to overcome, few startups make it to the fifth year and beyond without a little help. Third-party vendors in a variety of functions can act as valuable extensions of the company’s core team. Startup executives should not see these outside parties as a threat, nor should they try to adopt every outside partner that proves useful. By letting the experts do …

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Tablet Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Tablet for the Job

May 24, 2019


This tablet buying guide will help you find the right device for your business, even if you’re not an experienced tech shopper. Whether you want a sleek Android tablet for watching movies and playing games, a powerful PC tablet with a detachable keyboard, or a rugged waterproof device with a high-resolution screen, we’ve got you covered. While other websites will offer you top-10 lists and sponsored posts for recommended devices, our tablet buying guide puts the power and knowledge in your hands so you can make informed buying decisions for your business for years to come.  

Step #1: Define your use case.

The best way to narrow down your tablet options right off the bat is to set a budget and identify a clear use case. If you cannot determine a use case – in other words, if you’re not sure exactly how you and your employees will use the tablets you’re buying – hold off on the purchase entirely.

These are some common use cases for tablets:

Media consumption

One of the most common use cases for a tablet, even for business users, is as a media-consumption device. If you primarily want a tablet to catch up on news, read e-books, watch movies, listen to music and occasionally shoot off an email or two, you’re in the media-consumption camp. Users in this category can skip flashy, expensive 2-in-1 machines in favor of low-end or midrange tablets with high-quality displays and good speakers.  

Payment processing

If you’re buying tablets for customer-facing use, like inputting orders and processing payments, your focus will probably have more to do with credit card processing software and the available accessories than anything else. Durable waterproof cases and space-saving mounts are essential for tablets that are being used as replacements for old-school cash registers and desktops.  …

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3 "Secret" Ingredients That Consistently Drive Business Growth

May 24, 2019


Is it a question of mindset? What can we learn from those companies that have achieved a pattern of stable growth throughout the decades?

Hard work, talent, dedication, commitment to excellence and even more hard work. These things – especially an unending supply of hard work – make up the not-so-secret secret formula used by companies that have attained consistent growth. On top of that, the leadership within these companies keeps a future-oriented mindset. “This business is being built for years – and generations – yet to come,” is a much better leadership outlook than one that says, “I have built this by myself and for my own glorification right now.”

But really, it’s all about hard work. That’s why the secret formula is really pretty obvious. We all know the value of hard work, and we all believe in it. Some of us even practice what we preach when it comes to hard work. But do you know exactly what hard work looks like? Have you ever realized that hard work takes many shapes and forms? Does your company – do you – work hard at everything you do?

Shortcuts are not hard work

Shortcuts look smart. They look efficient, easy, quick and painless. They offer a chance to deliver a higher volume with little or no extra effort. But they are not hard work. Working smart and keeping up with best practices is crucial to your product’s quality, but it should never be the end you seek. The product’s quality is all that matters; that, and your character, are all your customer will ever really see. Minimal effort work (i.e., work that’s full of shortcuts) produces a minimal effort product. Minimal effort is what your competitors provide, inferior quality from others is what drove your customer to you …

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4 Tips for Outsourcing Your Customer Service

May 24, 2019


According to research by Microsoft, 96% of respondents said that customer service is important in determining if they stay loyal to a brand. Without it, your business is surely losing out on revenue, conversions and a happy, returning customer base.

Here are four tips for outsourcing your customer service department so your business reaches its goals and stays on the path to success.

1. Evaluate your business needs.

Do you know your goals for customer service? Do you know what you want it to achieve? What are your company’s guidelines for handling and solving customer issues? If you don’t know, it’s time to lay these issues out and answer them as specifically as you can.

 

Editor’s note: Looking to outsource your customer service to call center agents or an answering service? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.

 

 

It’s important to establish your brand voice, tone guidelines and business goals for your customer service team. Without clear steps or directions to follow, it’ll be more difficult for your team to sync when tending to customers. Consistency within your brand is essential, because it’s what ties the whole operation together and makes every facet of your company cohesive.

2. Offer adequate training.

Evaluate the onboarding process after you hire your customer service team. Is it thorough and informative? Are your employees’ questions answered adequately so that there’s less room for errors, or are they left wondering how to perform certain tasks or speak to customers? Without proper training, you’ll spend more money fixing customer issues than on other parts of your conversion strategy. [Need a team of agents to handle your customer service? Check out our best picks for call center and answering services.]

In the Microsoft survey, 30% of marketers said …

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