Justin Shaw

Stone Fabricator Elite

Here are the top three ways stone shops can take advantage of advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT to support sales and marketing, keeping in mind the current level of capabilities and ease of execution (not including advanced use cases).

For those unfamiliar with ChatGPT, it’s a cutting-edge AI technology developed by OpenAI that can understand and respond to text like a human. With its ability to process large amounts of data and generate human-like responses, ChatGPT is quickly becoming a valuable tool for businesses in various industries, including stone fabrication.

ChatGPT has seen incredible growth in its user base, reaching over 1 million registered users within just 5 days, making it the most rapidly expanding tech platform ever. By comparison, it took Facebook 10 months to hit the same number, from its initial launch.

Before I share my top three recommendations, it is important to keep in mind that the technology still has limitations. You will have better results if you use it to amplify your efforts rather than replace them. Keep your expectations realistic when utilizing this technology.

ChatGPT cannot connect to the internet without add on tools.* However, it does know several programming languages, such as HTML, JavaScript, Python, CSS, and G-Code – poorly, however, at this stage of development.

I think stone shops should explore ChatGPT and AI tools as a team. Have round-table discussions and conduct workshops to examine how your company can enhance operations and benefit from using the technology. It may not be for everyone.

However, If you invest the time to learn and experiment, it can certainly give you a competitive advantage. 

Here are my top three picks. I’ve only chosen applications that don’t require a steep learning curve to wrap your head around and implement. 

#1 Everyone In The Company Now Has A Virtual Assistant

ChatGPT has the capability to provide everyone at your company with a virtual assistant (VA). Not a VA that can book your hotel, but one that can expedite how you communicate with your customers and anyone who interacts with your brand.

Key employees should be exploring how to set up and use the tools to effectively reap benefits similar to the support a VA would provide.

For example, there are a number of tools that will nearly automate your email communications (is nothing sacred anymore?!). ChatGPT Writer is a decent Google Chrome extension. Once you get the hang of using it, you can compose or respond to emails in far less time, compounded over weeks, months, etcetera, and this can save you a ton of time. 

ChatGPT can be used to write drafts for agreements, proposals, and SOPs, to name a few things.

Here at Stone Fabricator Elite, our Sales Sidekick Program member agreement was written with ChatGPT and then reviewed by a team member before forwarding it to our lawyer to review, saving time and money in this process.

#2 Support Content Creation & SEO Efforts

High level content still needs to be written by a human. ChatGPT, at this point, and other AI writing tools still leave you vulnerable to inaccurate published information and the need for fact-checking. It supports your efforts by generating ideas, finishing thoughts, and helping flesh things out more easily.

For stone shops, you can use ChatGPT to create the bones of content for search engine optimized blog articles, YouTube descriptions, and email marketing content. This is a reasonably easy task to have your front desk associates or admin give you a hand with. Plan for allowing them to spend a couple of hours a week to get some decent output.

You’ll need to check the articles, edit and polish them, and add unique value. It’s still worthwhile to take this for a spin and see if you can get the hang of it. It gives you a significant advantage to publish content at a rate that Google will favor, and this can  ultimately help improve your site ranking. The pitfall to avoid is not giving the articles the care and attention to make them worthy of your audience.

You can also have your marketing team write your email newsletter, inventory updates, and product features. ChatGPT and the base of your ad campaign copy can write your social media posts. Again, the disclaimer here is that it’s not a fully done-for-you landscape at this time. You’ve still got to spend time ensuring it is on par. Grammarly is an AI tool that can help with cleaning up grammar, syntax, and readability.
Using AI + ChatGPT for content creation
#3 Train A ChatBot To Respond To Customers 24/7

ChatBots have come a long way. Many stone companies are already using LiveChat to automate customer engagement in real-time, around the clock. According to their website, the technology of the program is constantly learning and improving its responses, making each customer interaction more efficient than the last.

Here, where you would use ChatGPT to improve your customer service is to take the transcripts from LiveChat and feed them into ChatGPT. Because you have control over what you are asking ChatGPT to look for and improve upon, you would be able to dial in your responses versus using LiveChat on its own.

What you’ll learn as you get more familiar with using ChatGPT is that the key to success is applying creative thinking to the prompts you provide the platform. That, combined with an understanding of its capabilities and limitations are your roadmap.

Taking a Look Ahead

We’re not there yet, but ChatGPT should be able to help you program your CNC machine as it continues to advance. Check out this blog from Issuu: Taking CNC Programming to the Next level with AI. Jason Elk has also pointed out that tools like Alpha CAM are already using AI to help take CNC programming to the next level.

For the record, ChatGPT was used lightly for this article. I wanted to use it more. But, things were flowing. It provided a helping hand in coming up with potential ideas and helping me to push them forward. We could have tried harder because it truly is about telling it what you need and guiding it to improve its output. We’re all learning — AI is going to be a wild ride.

I’d love to hear how you’re using ChatGPT in your shop.

Justin Shaw is the founder of Stone Fabricator Elite. Through their flagship program and dedicated team of Sales Sidekicks, they help fabricators systemize their sales and grow their businesses more easily. To learn more, visit
stonefabricatorelite.com, or email the author at justin@stonefabricatorelite.com .