What does the launch of Google’s CallJoy Mean for Customer Service in 2019?
Earlier this month, Google announced the launch of it’s latest project, CallJoy, which has been designed as an affordable technology to help small business owners better manage their inbound calls. The system works as a low-cost automated customer service agent that helps with the management of inbound phone calls, spam calls, providing customers basic business information and, where necessary, redirecting customers to complete their requests via SMS or to the main business phone number.
Created for the U.S.’s 30.2 million small business owners, CallJoy combines several technologies, including virtual phone numbers, audio transcriptions, automated reporting and analytics. The system also records calls which are encrypted and transcribed, and these transcripts then become searchable in the CallJoy dashboard. This provides business owners with the opportunity to analyse common call queries so that they can better optimise the information on their website as well as their service/product offering.
Priced at a flat monthly fee of $39, Google has made customer contact technology an affordable option for small business owners for whom the use of human customer service agents is usually out of reach. Currently the technology is only available in the US and on an invitational basis however, Google ensures that it eventually be open to all. The question this new technology prompts us to ask is ‘what does this mean for customer service in 2019?’ Below we explore some of the key takeaways from this news.
Efficiency is an Expectation
The launch of CallJoy touches on something we already know, that the move technology-driven efficiency is not only a trend but an expectation. It is increasingly expected that legitimate companies have a professional customer service function in place and, as customer contact technologies become more and more accessible and affordable, the gap that differentiates small and larger, more established businesses is narrowing. No one wants to be kept on hold for 20+ minutes when the ability to talk to messenger bot or be immediately redirected to the correct source of information can be made so readily available. With the accessibility of digital services, such as CallJoy or those provided by Facebook’s Messenger app, for small businesses, customers will rightfully expect that bigger companies will be able to provide a level of service as efficient, or more so.
Human Touch will Continue to be a Differentiator
As automated customer contact touchpoints continue to join the mainstream, businesses with the potential to offer greater capabilities must ask themselves how they can stand out from the masses. Google’s offering of CallJoy at $39 is designed to cater to those who can’t afford to hire a team of agents to speak directly to their customers. Those who can commit a greater figure to improve the quality of their customer contact offering may look to using more advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning to take automated service to the next level. But it may be argued that the true advantage comes in identifying ways of putting the unique talents of human agents to a business’ advantage.
For now, there is no technology that can offer the genuine expression of empathy and understanding that comes from a human-to-human interaction. As demonstrated in our recent interview with Tom Vickers, UK Customer Service Country Manager at Audible, businesses can create a real differentiation between themselves and their competitors by training and encouraging their staff to have real interactions with their customers that go beyond meeting traditional KPIs. Technology like CallJoy can certainly make the customer experience more streamlined but it is unable to provide the increasingly valuable human-touch that help the most successful companies thrive.
Knowing your Customer is Key
CallJoy’s ability to record and transcribe calls, making them available to business owners for later analysis is a small reminder of the value that can be gained from really listening to your customers. There are few better ways to ensure your product/service offering and experience is aligned with your market’s wants and expectations than by gaining information directly from them.
In a time where businesses across all industries are facing increasing competition, any opportunity to set itself apart should be welcomed with open arms. Identifying patterns/trends expressed during customer calls is an optimal way to achieve this.