Business applications of NLP
AI vs. NLP
AI-based tools are all the rage now, though they can often leave users feeling like they are dealing with machines that fail to understand their true intentions or meaning. A more sophisticated field of AI – namely, Natural Language Processing or NLP, can make a difference.
Unlike simpler, rule-based artificial intelligence, NLP systems can learn to think, speak, and act independently, just like humans. The process is slow and resembles educating small kids: it’s based on feeding in rich sets of diverse data, its effectiveness largely dependent on the quality of the input. Although this technology isn’t new, it has come a long way in the past decade and has found many real-world business applications.
Some highly evolved NLP systems have grown so human-like, they are even capable of recognizing the subtleties of human emotions, both in spoken and in written statements.
Business applications of NLP
As NLP-powered systems and tools are fed richer, more diverse sets of data, they become better at understanding human input, recognizing patterns, and identifying the most optimal actions. Below we review some of the most common enterprise functions, in which NLP can be usefully applied.
Reduce costs with machine translation
In its early days machine translation was of little effectiveness, though, it has come a long way since – expanding its colloquial vocabulary and better comprehending phrasal expressions.
Neural machine translation today can be used to quickly and inexpensively translate low-impact content, including manuals and other documentation that isn’t frequently used, or serve as a base for perfecting human translations of higher-impact content.
Increase customer satisfaction with chatbots
One growing area of NLP applications in business is chatbots. As bots get better at handling customer support requests and inquiries, so will the service they provide. While it may be too early to completely outsource your customer service to chatbots, they could certainly serve as a first line of support, sorting and routing requests to the appropriate teams or departments.
The rise of digital assistants and smart speakers is changing the way we search and accomplish daily tasks. Rather than using short keywords or key phrases, we are more likely to speak complete sentences in question form, in a conversational style. This knowledge is effectively applied to internal conversational bots that can query a company’s intranet, for example. In this way bots can quickly muster up responses to pressing business questions, assisting with fact-checking and decision-making in group settings, at high levels of the organization.
Monitor your reputation
NLP software has been successfully applied to PR and reputation building. Social listening and monitoring tools can automate the process of measuring sentiment and brand lift just by querying and scraping the web and social channels for information, based on specific, emotionally-charged language.
Improve market intelligence
Wouldn’t it be handy to have access to your competitors’ latest moves when needed? Just like its applications in reputation-monitoring, NLP tools can be used to automatically keep a tab on the competition without moving a finger. Having up-to-date insights about the state of your industry can prove invaluable when building market-specific strategies and tactics.
Sorting through candidate applications and CVs manually can be a daunting task – rating candidates objectively based on glancing at one-page texts is even more challenging. Natural Language Processing software can save the day, helping HR departments and hiring managers sift through heaps of applicant data and swiftly identify those possessing the right set of skills, personal attributes, and professional experience.
Should you develop your own NLP-based solution?
If you are not yet convinced that your business can benefit from applying NLP-based AI solutions to solving significant challenges or drastically improving processes, maybe the results your competitors are able to achieve in the coming years will be a good motivator.
Some NLP tools like customer service bots can be rapidly and inexpensively integrated into your technology stack – though, it is our advice to keep an open mind and conduct thorough research on how the latest AI technology can realistically help advance your business.