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The Future of Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning & What it Means for Your Digital Business
One of the most important things to know about in today’s market is the future of natural language processing and machine learning. If that sounds like Greek to you, don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
Running a business today is significantly more complicated than it was in previous years. As a modern business owner, not only are you expected to know the ins and outs of your industry, but you also have a firm understanding of technology. For most business owners, taking the time to commit complex technological concepts to memory just isn’t feasible. There’s always too much to do and never enough time to do it. One of the most important things to know about in today’s market is the future of natural language processing and machine learning. If that sounds like Greek to you, don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here’s the breakdown of natural language processing, machine learning, and what the future of these technologies means for your business.
What Is Natural Language Processing?
Before delving into the specifics and dirty details of natural language processing, consider how you communicate with your computer. We all use some form of GUI, or a graphical user interface, to communicate and operate our devices. Whether you are using a PC or smartphone, you are using GUI.
Although the letters on each key have a letter from the alphabet, that’s not how computers see them. The letters are printed for our convenience, but this is not how computers interpret them. Computers work off of a code called ASCII, which facilitates the translation of the meaning and function of each key when you type. For example, in ASCII, computers associate the letter A, with the number 65.
Are you scratching your head yet? We’re just getting started. Now that you know just how different computer language is from human languages, you can appreciate the significance of the concept of natural language processing.
Essentially, natural language processing refers to a computer’s ability to understand natural spoken or written language. In the future, this technology will have profound implications for businesses of all sizes. Some examples of this include Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. By empowering these services with natural language processing abilities, these tools have become insanely popular. Today you can talk to any one of these tools, and it will respond. Keep in mind, however, that it is not always the desired response as the technology is still under development.
When it comes to natural language processing, to say that there is room for improvement would be an understatement of epic proportions. While Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are limited in the scope of their abilities, natural language processing technology has an almost infinite range of potential applications.
One practical example would be the possibility of revolutionizing how online forms are filled out. If there is one thing that customers hate more than packing and shipping returns, it’s filling out an online form. Speaking of returns, they typically have to fill out an online form to file for a product return as well, which they also hate. Filling out an online form takes time, and entering the appropriate text into each and every box can be maddening.
Businesses have obsessed over how to make their forms more straightforward and more pleasing to customers, but in all practicality, there is no such thing as a pleasant online form to fill out for some users. There are only forms that are more or less annoying than others. Looking ahead, natural language processing could develop to a point soon, where instead of having to enter countless blips of text manually, customers could simply speak and fill out the form using their voice.
Presently, this is something that needs a lot of fine-tuning before being implemented on a large scale. The current margin for error is far too significant to justify replacing traditional online forms with such innovation at this time. That said, technology grows by leaps and bounds every day. Although it is hard to pinpoint an exact date when it would be possible to fill out forms using one’s voice without compromising accuracy, the future is coming. When it does, it will revolutionize the way we do business.
One thing that you can use natural language processing to make your business more productive is to enable voice search capabilities. An overwhelming amount of young people today have become conditioned to speak into their devices when searching for something. By supporting voice search on your e-commerce platform, you will be ahead of the game and have the vantage ground to capture more customers. Although natural language processing isn’t at the point where it can fully replace customer service representatives, it can be used to allow customers to search with their voice. This feature will become even more valuable in the years to come.
Introduction to Machine Learning
Machine learning is another arcane yet undeniably important technical concept that businesses should make an effort to familiarize themselves with if they want to succeed soon. So what does machine learning mean for an online business? Before getting into the details, let’s take a closer look at what machine learning is and why you should value its potential.
The concept of machine learning refers to the use of algorithms that are designed to keep improving themselves automatically continuously. Harnessing the power of computer programs that can keep improving themselves is something that any savvy business owner should be interested in even if they don’t fully understand the concept.
It’s important to remember that as a business owner, you don’t have to know everything about machine learning to take advantage of it. If you run an online business, you can and should be exploiting the benefits of machine learning by partnering with digital marketing experts. You might feel like you have to take on the expense of raising an entire IT department to benefit from machine learning entirely but this isn’t necessarily true for all businesses. By partnering with digital marketing experts; instead, you will be saving upwards of a hundred thousand dollars a year. Full-time IT professionals are costly to employ. Not only do you have to pay their salaries every single year, but you will also need to provide benefits packages.
Why You Should Invest in Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning
Businesses that invest in advancing their use and understanding of natural language processing and machine learning now will benefit tremendously in the future. To fully demonstrate why you should be investing in machine learning by working with digital marketing experts, let’s take a look at some of the most compelling benefits of the technology.
Anyone running an online business can appreciate the difficulty of keeping up with supply and demand. Ordering merchandise is both an art and a science. Analyzing data takes a great deal of time, effort, and money. By harnessing the power of machine learning, you can make it much more comfortable, faster, cheaper, to analyze that data, and make better decisions when it comes to ordering.
When it’s used effectively, machine learning can be used for data to forecast data and make purchasing decisions more efficient. A computer program can think of things that would not occur to most people, something that could cause a shortage and send customers into a rage.
Chatbots are another example of machine learning as a valuable business application. If you thought customers hate filling out online forms, they hate waiting on the phone to talk to a customer support representative. People just don’t enjoy waiting on the phone to speak to someone from customer service. Even when they finally reach someone, they typically still aren’t particularly happy, especially when the customer service rep tries to sell additional services or fails to solve their problem.
While people were practically forced to wait on the phone to talk to customer service in the past, things have changed. People have even less patience than before because they have become conditioned to expect immediate satisfaction. Middle-aged customers who have adapted more or less to technology have become less patient than in previous years, and Millenials have even less patience. Millennials also have a relatively strong aversion to human interaction, an aversion which extends to talking to people over the phone.
Machine learning empowers chatbots to become smarter, more productive, more efficient, and more capable of satisfying customers. They also save businesses a lot of money. The more that you can rely on a chatbot to serve customers versus human customer service representatives, the more money you will save. For the most part, acquiring an effective chatbot program is a one-time expense as opposed to paying an hourly wage for each customer service representative in your employ.
Chatbots are especially useful to online businesses that have a limited physical infrastructure. You should know that not all chatbots are created equal, and it’s always a smart idea to consult with a digital marketing expert when selecting a chatbot for your online business.
Another significant advantage of machine learning that can give your online business a boost is the potential to make automated product recommendations. No one has the time or the workforce to configure and distribute accurate product recommendations for each and every one of their customers. Computer programs, on the other hand, are perfectly capable of doing this, and machine learning makes them continuously more effective.
Providing individual product recommendations manually would be practically impossible and extremely costly in terms of both time and money. By leveraging machine learning to do it for you, your business will make more money with minimal manual effort. Automated product recommendations mainly provide you with a passive income. You don’t have to tweak much for it to work while it’s making you and your business money, which is the beauty of machine learning more generally. It’s all about automation. What can be automated and how much money automating it can make or save for you. When customers see recommendations on your website, they are significantly more likely to stay on your site and keep shopping for more.
One of the most intriguing and profitable applications of machine learning is the ability to optimize prices in real-time. Online shoppers are savvy, and they are always looking for deals. If they find something they like on one website, they will look for the same thing on other sites to see if they can find it at a lower price.
Businesses can use machine learning to adjust pricing automatically by taking several essential factors into account. Prices can be optimized by the day of the week, current time, and, most importantly, the prices of your competitors. Using machine learning to optimize your pricing will ensure that you are always on par with the competition, which dramatically increases the chances of customers buying from your site.
It’s important to note that natural language processing and machine learning go hand in hand. These two technological concepts are closely related, and their developments are intertwined. Natural language processing is a massive part of what makes chatbots so effective. If you’re wondering where the distinction is, think of it this way. Using chatbots as an example, natural language processing is what determines how many customers queries it can understand while machine learning is what makes chatbots keep improving.
What Else Can Natural Language Processing do to Help Your Online Business?
Natural language processing has a dizzying array of potential applications. One of the most practical business applications that you can use this technology to achieve is the ability to monitor and interpret customer reactions on social media.
You can use natural language processing technology to scan through every reaction a customer makes to your social media content and interpret it. Why is this an extraordinary ability to have?
It’s important because the technology can determine the emotional state of the customer as well as identify the sentiment and mood of the customer. This gives you the power of opinion mining, a powerful tool that, when used effectively, can unlock vital and invaluable insights on how your customers think and what they want.
Most companies won’t have time to read through and interpret every single comment customers post to their variety of social media pages. Still, computer programs do, and they’re very good at it. You can use the data that you collect from opinion mining to adjust your social media posts in a way that will generate more appeal from your customers.
The real power of natural language processing is in analytics, especially in terms of analyzing customer data. Leveraging the technology to improve your analytics can jumpstart the growth of any business. Businesses need to know a lot of things to succeed and sustain continuous growth. They need to know who their customers are, what their customers want, what they value, what their interests are, what their backgrounds are, how they respond to various messages, and a thousand other things. Natural language processing makes all of this possible when it’s in capable hands.
Why You Shouldn’t Wade Into Machine Learning or Natural Language Processing Technology by Yourself
Now that you know more about how machine learning and natural language processing can help boost your online business, you might be excited enough to be tempted to explore these technologies by yourself. Do yourself and your business a favor and resist that urge. Reading up on these technologies is one thing, but implementing them in your business on a large scale is another. You might already have a chatbot in place, but is that chatbot at pique performance? Digital marketing experts know how to leverage these technologies in your favor.
Why is it necessary to consult with a team of digital marketing experts? Let’s face it, most online businesses wouldn’t have a clue as to how to pick and choose the best tools, elements, and programs that build off of natural language processing and machine learning, but a digital marketing expert would. That’s because digital marketing professionals use these technologies every day and have the kind of deep understanding of them that only comes with many years of experience.
The most significant danger of trying to implement these technologies by yourself is the risk of losing money on the wrong technology or spending money on the right technology without knowing how to use it. There is simply too much to know and too much room for error. You can avoid these problems by partnering with a capable digital marketing agency. That said, it pays to be selective when working with digital marketing agencies. To get the best performance out of these technologies, you’re going to need the best in the business. You’re going to need AlchemyLeads, one of the best and brightest firms in its class.
Still, Scratching Your Head on How These Technologies Can Help Your Online Business? Let the Experts at AlchemyLeads do the Heavy Lifting
If you’re still somewhat confused as to how to effectively incorporate natural language processing and machine learning technologies into your business, don’t worry, we’ve got your back. AlchemyLeads is the premier digital marketing agency in the LA area. We turn companies into gold by leveraging the most arcane aspects of technology to help businesses grow.
Navigating these technologies in their present state is hard navigating them in the future will be even harder. We understand that as a business owner, you don’t have time to become a qualified expert in things like SEO, natural language processing, or machine learning. You have a business to run, and you can’t run a business when you’re stuck reading over thousands of pages of material to get up to speed with the latest technology. Our team includes trained and highly experienced technical experts specializing in marketing. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Some say it’s magic, we say it’s alchemy, find out for yourself when you call AlchemyLeads today!