The day is upon us. The machines are rising. Robots are taking over and the unavoidable onslaught of AI technology is here to replace humans.
Skynet hasn’t made an appearance just yet.
However, AI has arrived and it is here to stay. In all walks of life, people are already beginning to feel the impact of AI technology - and its influence is only going to grow.
Trade business owners may think that this technology doesn’t affect them, but in reality, all businesses and individuals will be impacted.
The good news for all you plumbers, electricians and construction workers is that you have plenty to gain - with very little you risk losing.
So how is artificial intelligence affecting the service industry and what can you do to maximise this new technology for your trade business?
Time to find out.
The first thing to clear up is that AI is not going to replace the trades. Not for electricians and not for plumbers. Your jobs are secure, at least in the near future anyway.
Skilled trades such as plumbing or carpentry involve a combination of experience, knowledge and practical expertise which is very hard for machine learning algorithms to replicate.
AI can be used effectively for narrow tasks, but the broad skills that need to be applied in most trade jobs are hard to reproduce.
What's more, mobile robotics still lag behind compared to machine learning capabilities. Although robots can work very effectively in a factory doing a single task, replicating multifaceted tasks out in the field is more difficult.
That being said, certain practical skills are more at risk if they are highly repetitive. For example, Construction Robotics have developed a brick-laying robot called SAM, which can lay up to 3,000 bricks per day.
It is important to note, however, for complex walls or small-scale walling projects a machine like SAM would not be suitable.
Furthermore, a team of masons are still needed to work alongside the machine to finish off the work. In reality, it is more of a tool to be used alongside a bricklaying team rather than their replacement.
AI offers many great opportunities for service businesses.
In the construction industry, AI is already being used to automate tasks such as surveying, scheduling, and project management; improving efficiency and reducing costs.
Even in domestic service industries this technology can have a big impact. For example HVAC businesses can use the Internet of Things to greatly improve their services. Check out our blog on IoT in HVAC if you're interested to find out more.
Some companies that are implementing AI technology today include:
Even if you don’t work on commercial projects, AI offers a massive opportunity to optimise your marketing operations.
But how does this work?
As a business owner, it can be tricky to juggle your core work - whether that be boiler installs, electrical maintenance, or building garden rooms - alongside managing and growing your business.
Finding the time to do all of this to the highest standards is a challenge.
This is where AI comes in.
We’ve already explained in previous blogs about the importance of investing in the right technology. Using a CRM like Payaca, for example, will allow you to improve your business’ efficiency, saving time and money.
AI presents a similar opportunity.
By using a natural language processing tool such as Chat GPT or Google Bard, you can massively increase your marketing output, producing quality content that would otherwise be a struggle to create.
Some example use cases include:
One concern that comes up a lot around AI-generated content is whether or not Google will penalise you for using it.
There is some debate within the digital community around whether this is true, and if so, to what extent. Some people rave about AI and are mass-producing content using this technology, while some have condemned it, prophesying Google penalties and search obscurity.
The truth, like most things, lies somewhere in the middle. Used correctly, AI can be a powerful tool that can allow you to produce far more and far better content than you could before.
Writing blogs or other posts using artificial intelligence will not damage your website’s ranking.
The trick is to structure the content properly and to edit it where necessary. As long as your content is informative and helpful it’s going to do well.
This is confirmed by Google themselves…
What is important is quality, not whether or not the content is written by humans or robots.
It means that you can and should be using AI.
We have always recommended using blogs (and other content) to create relevant resources for your target customers. You should continue to do this. Check out our blog on SEO for more tips.
But whereas before it may have been a challenge to produce enough relevant material, natural language tools ease the burden.
So how do you ensure your AI-generated content is relevant and useful?
Well, as experts in your field, you are best placed to edit the content that is produced and ensure that it stands up to your expectations and Google’s.
All you need to do is spend a little time - far less than you would have spent writing from scratch - reviewing the content and checking that it is informative and useful for your target audience.
When creating any content, first ask the AI to adopt a certain person. For example, if you were writing a blog about plumbing, ask it to adopt the persona of a plumber with x years of experience working in “your region/local area”. Then ask it to write the blog.
Don’t ask your AI tool to write a blog straight off the bat. Instead, give it a structured format to build the content around. Work out the title, subheadings and specific topics you want the blog to cover and input these.
Provide the AI with your own facts, anecdotes and personal case studies that the writing tool can use when crafting content.
In some cases you may not have your own examples, so ask the AI to include its own examples and case studies within the blog - just don’t forget to fact-check.
This is something you should always do. Double-check any facts or claims made within the content.
Once your content is written, either by you or an artificial assistant, run the content through another natural language tool and ask it to review what's been written. You can even ask it to use a certain persona while completing this assessment.
If you’re new to AI the idea of getting into bed with it might seem a bit daunting.
New technologies can be understandably daunting, but the reality is that this is only the beginning and everyone is going to be affected. That’s why the sooner you familiarise yourself with these tools and begin implementing them in your business the further ahead you’re going to be.
Currently, 78% of high-performing field service organisations use AI.
Competitors in your industry are already using this technology. This is not something waiting around the corner, it’s already here. It’s time to get stuck in - you don’t want to be left behind.
Hopefully, this blog has given you the confidence to start implementing this technology and using it to boost your service business today. It’s an amazing opportunity, not something to be feared, so give it a go today.
For more information on how to grow your service business, check out our blog on how to take your plumbing business to the next level for tips.
Skilled trades are unlikely to be fully automated, as they require dexterity, creativity, and problem-solving that current technologies can’t replicate.
However, some aspects of skilled trades can be enhanced or assisted by automation, such as data analysis, scheduling, communication, and quality control. Automation is already being used to assist tradespeople in their work and replace repetitive tasks.
While AI technologies are transforming various industries, the complete replacement of traditional trades is unlikely.
AI serves as a complementary tool, enhancing precision, productivity, and efficiency for tradespeople, but the skills and expertise required in trades make humans indispensable.
Whilst robots will increasingly play a part in the construction industry, it is unlikely that they will completely replace human workers.
However, many of the tasks in construction are at risk, with a study by McKinsey & Company suggesting that as much as 47% of the construction industry could become automated.