We in the call center and telephone answering service industry have been using technology for years. Preset menus or interactive voice responders (IVRs) are often the first thing a customer interacts with when calling your call center or customer service line. What’s more, many companies also use instant messaging chatbots that customers can communicate with online to get answers to their more basic questions. But AI has, and will continue to, take these communications one step further. Here, we’re discussing the potential and the implications of AI and its use in telephone answering services.

The Benefits of AI Answering Services

First, we know how helpful menus and IVRs can be. Especially if the time is taken to make the menu options and routing clear and efficient, this technology can help customers reach the person who is best equipped to resolve their problem fast. But we also know that this technology is limited to how it is set. If someone calls with a unique inquiry and they are not sure what category on the menu it falls into, they get stuck, forced to navigate to the wrong place just so they can speak to a person, or sent to a generalist or general voicemail that will slow down the resolution of their issue. This is the key difference between this older technology and new AI answering services: artificial intelligence can listen and adapt. Instead of being forced to listen to a list of possible departments and having to determine their own path through the IVR, customers can simply tell an AI the purpose of their call and the AI can take it from there, determining and executing the best and most efficient course of action for solving the problem.

Next, there’s the obvious fact that if you’re using an AI answering service, it is acting in place of a live agent. That means it can be available 24/7 and potentially answer hundreds of calls simultaneously, eliminating the possibility of customers being forced to wait on hold (one of the biggest obstacles to customer satisfaction) as well as the difficulty and cost of staffing a call center 24/7. Plus, there’s the fact that interacting with an AI answering service is literally communicating with the system itself. Say you’re calling a hotel answering service to make a reservation and you want to know the rates on different types of rooms. If you’re speaking to a live agent, they will need to physically search for this information, which can take time and creates the possibility of human error. The AI will be connected to the reservation system with the ability to list off all the rates for different rooms instantly, without having to complete multiple searches.

Since AI is adaptable, it is able to be trained. You can feed an AI answering service all the data you have collected from customer calls and interactions and it can learn from that, cataloging the most frequent customer inquiries and recognizing patterns that will help it better serve customers going forward.

Drawbacks of AI Answering Services


It’s no secret that this technology exists and companies are starting to use it with success. But it’s also true that customers are still wary of AI and, in many cases, aren’t quite ready to trust it yet. If the issue they are calling about is important to them, if there is a lot of money involved, or if it has already caused them some frustration, they may only feel comfortable speaking with a real person to ensure that the issue gets resolved. In these cases, it may not matter how effective the AI answering service is; it may just stoke the customer’s frustration further until they are able to reach a real person. Before adopting an AI answering service, this is a factor that you must seriously consider. If it is going to worsen the customer experience because of their preexisting skepticism or frustration with technology, it may not be worth utilizing quite yet. But if your customer base is open to it, the benefits above are just around the corner.

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