Google announced a host of new features for its products and services in May last year at the company's annual developer conference. But the most interesting feature out of the bunch was the Assistant-powered robot calling system powered by Google Duplex, which let the Assistant make calls on your behalf - for things like restaurant bookings. Fast-forward to present day, and the company has unveiled a new service - a cloud-based virtual customer service agent that will handle incoming calls for small businesses. Google calls it CallJoy.
CallJoy is aimed at small businesses to help them have access to the same customer service options that have only been available to larger corporations. According to the company's blog post, the team within Area 120 (Google's workshop for experimental projects) conducted a test that found out that small businesses on an average receive 13 incoming calls every day, that roughly equals to 400 million incoming calls from consumers if we take into account America's average 30.2 million small businesses. CallJoy is aimed at enabling small business owners to efficiently manage their businesses through automated customer service.
Last year, when Google Duplex was first shown off at the developer conference, it sure seemed like a great concept but we didn't have a clear idea as to when it will be available for users. It became available to select Pixel users in the US in November last year and started rolling out to select Android phones and all iPhone models with Assistant installed in the US in April this year. Of course, Duplex is meant for end-users to call businesses, while CallJoy is meant for small businesses to receive incoming calls from customers.
As of now, CallJoy is only available for small business owners based in the US. The new tech can be availed as early access at a flat monthly fee of $39 and after a quick setup, you'll receive a new virtual phone number with your local area code. Following this, CallJoy will offer a virtual customer service agent that will help in blocking unwanted spam calls as well as, provide legitimate customers with basic business information.
How does the tech work? Well, it's simple. Say you own a small business and a customer calls you. Then in your place, CallJoy's virtual agent is going to answer the call for which you can even set a custom message as well that will make the virtual agent even greet the customers and provide basic business information. The customer will then receive an SMS text message containing a URL through which the task can be completed. And just in case the customer has called using a landline then the text message feature will be disabled and the customer will be redirected to the business line instead. Other than this, all calls will be recorded and transcribed for quality purposes, which will make it easier for owners to tag and search for conversations based on topics.
We'd like to stress again that CallJoy is available as early access as of now which means that it is only available through an invite system. Eventually, more invites will be shared every day and the feature will be more widespread in the coming time.