Telephone Answering Service

Applying Artificial Intelligence in Telephone Answering Services

Consider the Role that AI Could Play in Your TAS Operation

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

You may be tired of hearing about artificial intelligence (AI), but get used to it. It’s here to stay, and it will change everything. Not only will it revolutionize business and the answering service industry along with it, but it will reach into and touch every aspect of our lives. In fact, it’s already doing just that, whether we know it or not.

Here are some ways you may want to consider applying AI to your telephone answering service.

Use AI to Supplement Management and Support

AI can function in a support role, assisting the functions and departments that surround your telephone answering service operation. Already, AI is great at producing the first draft of an email or suggesting attention-grabbing subject lines. The same applies for marketing materials and ad copy. But don’t expect AI to make a perfect final draft—at least not yet—but those days are coming, and they’ll likely arrive sooner than you expect.

Look for other ways that AI can assist nonoperation departments, such as accounting, sales, marketing, and technical. These AI tools are either ready today or are close to being ready. All you need to do is find them and implement them.

Use AI to Enhance Customer Service

The same applies for customer service functions. If a concern arrives via email, AI can often make the first draft of a cogent response. All you need to do is verify and tweak.

Chatbots are another area. You’ve likely had experience with them, albeit on the user side. Imagine what AI chatbots can do for your customer service. But before you get carried away, trying to implement a comprehensive system that will cover everything, start simply and address the basics. Once that’s working fine, expand it.

Another area related to customer service is tapping AI to perform agent evaluations. This isn’t just for select calls or random calls but every call. Only outlier results that need attention—either to correct an error or celebrate a success—need to be forwarded to the agent or management.

Use AI to Better Handle Calls

Most of the work—and most of the labor—at an answering service occurs in the operations room and revolves around answering calls or handling communication for clients. This is where AI can have the biggest impact.

Start by considering how AI can better support your telephone agents to allow them to do their job more effectively, quicker, or both. But don’t stop there. Also consider service activities that you can move to AI, with agent oversight and the ability to overrule. And, of course, there are areas you can completely outsource to AI.

But Don’t Avoid It

Some people are technologically adverse. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s who they are. They just need to realize that ignoring it won’t make it go away, and it will one day put their TAS at a disadvantage.

Consider the last services to switch from cord boards to computerized systems. Or the last providers to stop handwriting messages and start entering them into a database. Though there were holdouts—sometimes for quite a while—they eventually realized they had to embrace the technology. So, too, will be the case with AI.

Artificial Intelligence Conclusion

When it comes to artificial intelligence, the opportunities abound, almost limitless. If you can dream it, it can likely be done—or someone has already done it.

Learn more in Peter Lyle DeHaan’s book, How to Start a Telephone Answering Service.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader, covering the telephone answering service industry. Check out his books How to Start a Telephone Answering Service and Sticky Customer Service.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.