Google Adds Improved AI and Customization to Small Business Voice AI Service CallJoy
Google has implemented some significant updates to CallJoy, it’s voice AI for small business services, this week, six months after its debut. The virtual phone agent has taken feedback from current users and is adding new customization options and more automation.
CallJoy was born out of Google’s Area 120 experimental labs to answer on behalf of a business when people call. The AI is supposed to be able to answer questions and arrange for calls with humans at the business when necessary. CallJoy would theoretically replace the need for multiple staff fielding phone calls or hiring a call center service. No call would go unanswered or be interrupted by other tasks.
The first version of CallJoy was somewhat one-size-fits-all. The updated system is designed to be more flexible for business owners. The subscribers to CallJoy, which costs $39 a month, can pick out not only how the AI answers the phone, but what the voice that answers sounds like. The customization even extends to when CallJoy picks up. The AI can answer immediately or behave a little more like a human by waiting for a few rings before answering the call. The new system is also supposed to make it easier to program answers to questions and determine where to route calls when necessary. After the call is over, the business owner gets a recording and transcription of what happened, including some analysis about what people are calling to ask about and other insights that might help them improve how the business operates.
CallJoy’s biggest limitation, even with the update, may be that it still can’t make appointments or reservations by voice. Instead, a request to make an appointment earns the caller a text with a link to an online booking app. The system is focused on smaller businesses, as opposed to the Google Cloud Contact Center AI, a more robust and expensive option for larger businesses and enterprises.
The price and relative ubiquity of Google products may attract small businesses to CallJoy, but the product is not without outside competition. Virtual phone agents, including ones with the ability to make reservations by voice, are offered by companies like FrontdeskAI. Then there’s the healthcare-focused Amelia platform by IPSoft and Inference Solutions’ virtual agents, which are designed to smooth the interaction between customers and call centers.
Conversational AI can do a lot for businesses in saving money on people answering phones and increasing revenue by offering better customer service. Virtual agents were worth $300 billion in 2017, according to a Gartner report, a number expected to balloon to $1.2 trillion by 2030. Google wants to be a part of that market at all levels, with CallJoy aimed at the smaller business sector and Google Duplex taking the inverse approach by making phone calls to businesses on behalf of consumers. Eventually, AIs may just talk to each other and report back to humans without needing any person-to-person communication at all to operate a business.