3 things you need to know about automated phone systems
Have you ever received a call from a robot? Or call a company and get an AI representative? Automated calling is part of a booming industry that businesses, organizations and individuals are taking advantage of, as more and more aspects of our lives require access to a telephone.
Another job that has been streamlined for maximum efficiency and profit, a single computer can do the work of millions of human agents on call, and technology is constantly improving.
1. That some are much more sophisticated than others
Automated phone systems are a way to make thousands of pre-recorded calls to or on behalf of a business without the need for a human representative. Some systems use technology, such as autodialers. Others use more advanced methods like IVR, a predictive dialer, or artificial intelligence.
These phone systems are most often used for surveys, notifications, appointment reminders and advertisements. The most advanced systems help businesses manage call volumes that would be unmanageable without this technology.
2. That different types are used for incoming and outgoing calls
First, the system pulls phone numbers from a database. These numbers can be given freely by customers, purchased from businesses, or found randomly by browsing address books and websites. Then the computer calls each of them, waits for a response from the other side, and acts on the response. The most common actions are to play a pre-recorded message or connect the person to a human agent. It depends on the purpose of the call.
On the other hand, when a customer calls a number in an automated phone system, it functions as an AI receptionist to answer the question or redirect the caller to an agent. The caller interacts with the AI by pressing a button or with a voice response, which the system will “listen to”.
The risk of using these systems is that although a working program is very effective, the program can be interrupted by bugs, bad programming, cyberattacks, power outages, etc. Phone downtime can lead to angry customers and potentially lost business. Therefore, if the system is implemented, precautions should be taken.
3. That they benefit both customers and businesses
The benefits of an automated telephone system are numerous. On the one hand, it makes regular business much more efficient and reduces customer waiting times. Small teams that run regular outreach phone calls can pack a month’s worth of work into a day. The system also removes the risk of common human errors, such as oversights, typos, and scheduling errors.
Also, especially for customer support, traditional call centers are no longer needed. Auto-routing and pre-recorded menus allow agents to reap the benefits of shorter shifts and work from home without transferring customers from one department to another.
However, as with any technology, there are some drawbacks. While the ability to effectively reach millions of customers can be a boon for businesses, scammers also have access to technology, making phishing and fraud more profitable than ever. While most people know not to give their bank account number to a stranger over the phone, it only takes one victim among many for the scammers to take advantage.
To counter this and make the customer experience safer, the best systems have state-of-the-art security measures in place. If you’re considering implementing a predictive dialer or other automated system, it’s worth learning the software vendor’s security configuration before purchasing.
Automated phone systems are already so prevalent in our businesses today that it’s hard to imagine significant advancements. However, our understanding of artificial intelligence, computer science and entrepreneurship is constantly evolving. Who knows what technology will be an integral part of our lives tomorrow?