10 Killer New Tools For Businesses

Businesses are moving towards automated working, and not only to make customer interaction more efficient but to do so in a more intelligent and data-driven way.

Big names in the field of technology solutions catch on to this growing willingness of businesses, both small and enterprise-level to invest in new systems and hardware.

As a result we’re seeing existing consumer services being moulded to suit business clientele as well as shiny-new services being marketed directly to businesses.

Let’s take a look at some of the most recent technology-driven services and systems arising in the business sector.

Some aid businesses with their internal operations and others offer new ways to carry out their own B2C and B2B communications and processes.

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Apple Business Chat

Rivaling Facebook and Microsoft, Apple’s Business Chat could be the next big channel for customer service and sales.

Recently announced at Apple’s developer conference, Apple Business Chat has been introduced primarily as a customer service tool for businesses.

The main benefit appears to be the combination of allowing customers to communicate with the brand whenever is most convenient, while being able to complete tasks simply and quickly such as selecting options from a list (List Picker), paying (Apple Pay) or scheduling an appointment or delivery (Time Picker).

They also make sure people know it is actual humans behind the service, and no chatbots. Conversations will also be kept so customers can return and continue with a chat, and all the previous information is there.

Google Hire

Google is making it easier for businesses to track applicants progress through the interview process.

Businesses can use Google Hire to automate their candidate search. It enables them to keep track of each candidate’s progress as a result of integrating with G Suite (Google’s set of apps for communication and storage incl. Gmail, Drive etc.).

It means businesses can focus their time on finding the right person for the role, and less on manual administrative work across various, disconnected tools.

Facebook Live

Companies are using Facebook Live as a tool for internal communications with employees.

Our case example of this approach to internal employee communication comes from Jackson Healthcare. They harnessed the familiarity of Facebook Live to keep their employees up-to-date and in-the-know, while encouraging them to actively engage with the company through Facebook Lives’ well-known emoji and commenting features.

Not only do they use the tool for simple announcements, but to also encourage as many of their remotely based employees to tune in to larger conferences and stage presentations concerning the company’s progress and future.

WhatsApp For Business

WhatsApp is working on an enterprise solution for its messaging app that will provide useful notifications and finally monetize the service.

The enterprise version of the app might include useful information like flight times, delivery confirmations and other updates, and enable enterprise to better communicate with their customers. However, there will also be a free app for SMEs.

Ways for charging for the services would include having multiple representatives managing an account and sending a great number of messages, or charging for AI bots and e-commerce transactions.

IBM Watson

IBM Watson is an Artificial Intelligence platform for businesses, enabling them to interpret data, interact naturally with people and learn at scale.

IBM Watson is a highly intelligent piece of software businesses can harness for their own processes and communications, capable of interpreting data, offering personalized solutions, utilizing machine learning to expand expertise and interacting with people via chat bots.

Here’s just a small handful of example uses by brands:

  • North Face created an Expert Personal Shopper using IBM Watson as the driving software. It would ask shoppers a series of questions to determine their individual needs, selecting relevant products for a simpler and more seamless shopping experience.
  • Before employing Watson, Toyota together with Saatchi LA wrote 50 scripts based on location, behavior and occupation data of their target audience. These scripts were then integrated into IBM’s Watson which would churn out thousands of versions of ads, all sounding as though they were written by people as a result of Watson analyzing YouTube and Wikipedia data. The result was an ad targeted to almost every single potential car buyer.
  • For some workers in China, being replaced by robots is becoming a reality. Foxconn is replacing some of their employees who gather data from a person and decide if they qualify for life insurance with IBM’s Watson. Remaining staff will be supported by the Watson system.

Workplace Monitoring

Enlighted’s monitoring tool allows users to track an entire workplace, and Humanyze’s biometric technology means employee information can also be analyzed in real time.

This technology sounds a little intrusive, but hopes to lead businesses towards smarter workplaces.

They believe businesses can achieve higher levels of productivity and wellness of employees through monitoring movement, tone and volume of voices. They also hope to decrease unnecessary consumption of electricity by overlaying biometric technology to monitor how their workplaces are running, and where they can improve.

VR For Employee Training

Employees can now experience scenario training via Oculus Rift VR technology and a STRIVR labs curriculum.

Our case example of using VR to train employees is Walmart. They plan to bring 150,000 employees through the customer service, management of seasonal situation training each year at their “Walmart Academy” training centers.

In a session, one employee dons the VR headset and makes decisions based on the scenario they find themselves in. Other employees watch the scenario on a flat screen, learning from what they see and critiquing afterwards.

Snapchat

While not the newest tool on the market, brands are continuing to find novel ways of harnessing the Snapchat platform for unique communication strategies

Here’s two example uses by brands:

  • Sony Music encourage younger visitors to their installation set-up of a “snow-covered forest” to engage in the experience with special geo-filters and Snap Ads of the event trailers to spread the word. They reported that Snapchat had driven some of the highest impressions from this young demographic (18–24 year-olds), and had the lowest cost-per-views of all media channels used.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts recently used Snapchat to enable fans to vote on the new iced coffee flavor via comments. On the final day of voting, Snapchat filters were released especially for each of the flavor options to really drive last-minute engagement.

TransferWise Business Payments

The money transfer outfit TransferWise is expanding from only consumer payments to launch a platform for businesses.

TransferWise wants to target especially SMEs as they make up for 99% of UK businesses and transfer across borders at least once every fortnight.

The service is a cheap and easy way to transfer money across borders and will include no sign-up costs or monthly fees.

The underlying idea is to secure low fees for local account transfers, so less money needs to be sent abroad, which makes transfers abroad up to seven times cheaper compared to using a business bank account.

Virtual Retail Platform

MindStores enables anyone to partner with them and open their own, custom retail store in virtual reality within their 3D Virtual Retail Store Network.

MindStores develop virtual retail stores accessible and navigated via VR and AR technology.

Small businesses who want to be owners of their own virtual store can now do so within Alfamind (Alfamart group, partnered now with MindStores).

Alfamind is possibly the world’s first 3D Virtual Retail Store Network in the world, where shoppers can virtually experience browsing and purchasing products in a 3D virtual environment, with the choice of a range of retailers from apparels to beauty products and home decor.

This is just the beginning, this use of VR technology could potentially pave the way for the future of retail.

Bitcoin

After the recent success of bitcoin, businesses including banks, airlines, goods retailers and restaurants are beginning to explore the benefits of accepting the crypto-currency.

Here’s just a small handful of example uses by brands:

  • Burger King Russia have begun exploring the possibilities of bitcoin as a loyalty reward. They have launched a unique reward program which rewards customers for every Whopper hamburger purchased with WhopperCoins (a bitcoin derivative). People are then able to exchange these coins to purchase burgers or trade them online.
  • Central banks across the world have begun to venture into the world of possibilities bitcoin offers by researching its financial stability and security. Teams in the UK, Russia, Canada, Australia and China are investigating key questions as they begin to seriously consider minting their own digital currencies and putting money on the blockchain.
  • Switch, a daughter company of EnergieAllianz Austria and energy providers of Austria and Germany, is enabling its customers to pay their bills via Bitcoin. With this move they want to attract digitally affine clients and anyone interested.

Get in touch if you’d like to discover more about how your business can transform customer experience.