The June 2023 Issue of TAS Trader

Amtelco

How Should You View Answering Service AI?

Determine the Role Artificial Intelligence Will Play in Your Telephone Answering Service Operation

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Unless you’re intentionally ignoring it, talk of artificial intelligence (AI) is all around us. It’s hard to miss. AI is not a fad that will fade, a hype that will die down. AI is a trend that will continue to grow and become more pervasive in our everyday lives. It’s infiltrating every industry, including telephone answering services. Given this, you may wonder how you should view answering service AI.

Let’s set aside the doomsday prognosticators who foresee a future where artificial intelligence will take over our world and deem human life as inadequate and worthy of eradication. Though some futurists view this as a slim possibility, there’s little you or I can do to stop it. And the degree to which we embrace or dismiss AI will have no bearing on the technology’s overall impact.

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

Therefore, instead of fearing the concept of AI on a macro level, we should consider the potential of AI on the micro level, such as on telephone answering services. Given this, the question we must ask is how should we view answering service AI?

Answering Service AI is Not Something to Fear
First, there’s no need to be afraid of using artificial intelligence in your answering service. Though we don’t understand how AI works to do what it does, we don’t need to. What we need to focus on is the results, the outcome the technology provides. The how doesn’t matter.

Answering Service AI is a Tool
Next, we should view AI as a tool. Just as a computer is a tool, the internet is a tool, and VoIP is a tool, so is AI. In the same way we evaluate the cost, the effectiveness, and the outcome of any tool we provide to our answering service, we should do the same with AI.
Can we afford AI? Will AI be effective? What results will AI provide? If the answers to this deliberation are positive, then we should look at adding this tool to our toolchest.
Note that AI is not one application, but a way to empower every application. This means we could end up with multiple AI powered tools in our answering service.

Answering Service AI Should be a Strategic Consideration
Just as with every other business decision we make, tapping AI for our answering service should be a strategic choice. Don’t jump on the AI bandwagon without first considering its merits. Don’t let FOMO (fear of missing out) rush you into making a rash decision. Instead, make an informed judgment based on the available facts and a careful cost-benefit analysis.

Don’t Ignore Answering Service AI
Using artificial intelligence in your answering service may be ideal for your operation and goals. Conversely it might not be the right solution for you at this time. But don’t dismiss it without first considering it. The only wrong approach is to ignore it.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. Check out his latest book, Healthcare Call Center Essentials, ideal for medical answering services.


Boosting Performance and Profitability for TAS Owners and Agents through AI Integration

By Michael C. McMillan

The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) has brought about a paradigm shift in the telephone answering service industry, offering owners and agents an opportunity to enhance their performance and increase profits. By integrating Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies, AI-driven systems automate customer inquiry management, allowing telephone answering services to operate more efficiently and effectively.

For service owners and agents, incorporating intelligent virtual assistants can yield numerous benefits, leading to improved performance and higher profitability. AI-powered virtual assistants can handle customer inquiries autonomously, interpreting requests and delivering tailored responses using NLP and ML technologies (Zhang & Wallace, 2017). This innovation enables telephone answering service providers to offer round-the-clock customer support, a critical edge in today’s competitive business landscape.

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global market for AI in the telecommunications industry is projected to reach USD 2.5 billion by 2025 (Grand View Research, 2019). Fueling this growth is the surging demand for intelligent virtual assistants, which not only streamline customer inquiry processes but also help reduce operational costs. By automating routine tasks, agents can concentrate on more complex or high-value interactions, enhancing their productivity and contribution to the company’s bottom line.

AI-driven solutions from companies like Conversica, Amelia, and Nuance Communications have been designed to cater to specific industries, including healthcare and finance. This customization allows telephone answering service providers to offer specialized services, target niche markets, and enhance their value proposition.

Investing in AI-powered systems and tools, along with comprehensive staff training, will enable telephone answering service owners and agents to fully leverage this technology’s advantages. As agents become more familiar with AI-driven solutions, they can provide timely customer support, ensuring seamless integration between human and virtual interactions.

Furthermore, AI technology can help identify patterns and trends in customer inquiries, offering valuable insights that can be used to improve overall service quality (Chui, Manyika, & Miremadi, 2016). This data-driven approach to customer service enables telephone answering service providers to continually refine their offerings and adapt to changing customer needs, ultimately driving customer satisfaction, and fostering long-term loyalty.

Integrating AI technology within the telephone answering service industry has the potential to enhance performance and profitability for both owners and agents significantly. By embracing AI-powered systems and tools and investing in staff training, telephone answering service providers can capitalize on the growing demand for intelligent virtual assistants, streamline their operations, and bolster their bottom line.

Michael McMillan, an influential thought leader, and keynote speaker, specializes in innovation in customer experience (CX) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). With expertise in various industries and critical specialization in technology and call center outsourcing, Michael uniquely understands just how vital the customer journey is for a business. His TEDx speech on empathy and human connection demonstrates his passion for meaningful relationships and strong support networks, making him a sought-after speaker and author.


Featured Sponsor: Startel

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Startel is a leading provider of unified communications, business process automation and performance management solutions and services for small to mid-size organizations. Since its founding in 1980, Startel has established a loyal customer base from a variety of industries, including contact centers, education, government, healthcare, insurance, telephone answering service, and utilities. Customers depend on Startel’s solutions and services to increase business efficiencies, identify performance opportunities, and deliver quick, secure, and accurate communication 24/7 x 365.

In 2015, Startel Corporation and Professional Teledata merged. In 2017, Alston Tascom also merged with Startel.


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Industry News

Active Insights: Automated Call Scoring, Quality Assurance, Detailed Analytics

The new secure, cloud-based Active Insights platform provides access to call, message, and speech analytics. Answering services can use Active Insights to quickly find detailed information about calls and agent performance, complete with automated call scoring. Active Insights is user-friendly, fast, and easy to deploy; it provides accurate insights about overall call handling.

Automated Call Scoring: Active Insights features customized call-scoring scripts to automatically rate calls, saving hours of valuable time for supervisors and creating impartial scores for agents.

Provide Agent Feedback: Supervisors can use the unbiased feedback from Active Insights to give agents positive feedback in areas where they excel, along with suggestions for improvement.

Flexible Search Options: A wide range of search criteria helps instantly find a call, even with limited information.

Complete Call Review Capabilities: Supervisors can see and hear exactly what happened on calls with Active Insights, helping them confirm that the call quality is up to the expected standards and makes it easy to identify and address any issues.

Conserve Disk Space: Since Active Insights is cloud-based, it doesn’t use on-site server space.

Active Insights works with the Amtelco Genesis system.

Send us your TAS articles and news for consideration in the next issue.


Quotes for Consideration

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” -Flannery O’Connor

“Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.” -Paul Saffo

“Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?” -unknown