From using computer vision to diagnose equipment malfunctions to providing real-time support for sales agents, we look at how artificial intelligence is helping manufacturers make sales and support more efficient and effective.
Sales and support processes can be time-consuming and inefficient for manufacturers. Support teams commonly face high volumes of repetitive support requests and sales agents often find themselves manually parsing through long lists of potential leads — increasing the risk that new business opportunities will be missed.
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In response, more manufacturers are turning to artificial intelligence to help automate simple support requests, speed up sales processes, and streamline training for agents.
For example, computer vision is being used to automatically diagnose equipment malfunctions for support teams and conversational AI is being deployed to quickly engage potential customers as they browse through websites. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to accelerate a shift to remote sales and support while also eating into many businesses’ revenue, AI-support tools could begin to look even more tempting to manufacturers.
In part 6 of our series on AI in manufacturing, we examine how AI is transforming natural language processing (NLP) for sales and support, speech recognition for coaching, and computer vision for technical support.
- AI-based services, such as conversational AI and speech analytics, will become increasingly useful to manufacturers as more shift to a direct-to-consumer (D2C) model. AI will help teams more rapidly build out and scale sales or support units, boost customer loyalty, and open new business channels.
- Recent advances in natural language processing are streamlining sales and support. Open-source NLP models from companies like Google and OpenAI are providing the foundation for a number of speech recognition and conversational AI services that can better interpret customer intent.
- AI services designed specifically for manufacturing sales and support are beginning to emerge. Many manufacturers are already adopting industry-agnostic AI tools for sales and support. But a handful of startups, including Mavenoid and TechSee, are developing AI-powered sales and support platforms catered to manufacturers. (Learn more about general-purpose AI sales and support startups in this market map).
Why sales and support?
Artificial intelligence’s potential to streamline sales and support could help manufacturers generate more business, build brand loyalty, and learn more from customer feedback. This is especially important as more manufacturers begin to forge new direct-to-consumer (D2C) channels.
AI sales and support applications, such as automatically engaging leads or using computer vision for technical diagnostics, can help manufacturers set the groundwork for new customer-facing business units or scale existing ones.
Furthermore, AI can provide additional infrastructure to facilitate remote support and sales amid the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, speech recognition software is helping managers provide training to sales and support agents in a work-from-home environment. Similarly, support teams are relying on natural language processing to power chatbots and help customers solve technical problems without as much human intervention.
The need to cut costs and better engage clients is higher than ever for manufacturers — many are betting that AI can help.