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Grow Your Business Technology

Google Launches Cloud-Based Phone System for SMBs

image for Credit: Google CallJoy
Credit: Google CallJoy
  • Google's CallJoy service launched yesterday on an invite-only basis.
  • The system was created to give SMBs "access to the same customer service options that have historically only been available to larger corporations."
  • It handles multiple phone answering needs for $39 per month.

For a small business owner, communicating with your customers is a top priority. While social media and other online channels are paramount, speaking over the telephone is still a major point of interaction for SMBs and their customers.

To make phone interaction easier, Google announced a cloud-based, AI-driven service yesterday to handle small business phone services for $39 per month, dubbed CallJoy.

In a blog post announcing the service's launch, CallJoy General Manager Bob Summers said it was built to give small businesses "the same customer service options that have historically only been available to larger corporations."

Prior to CallJoy's creation, Summers said, his team at Google's experimental workshop Area 120 conducted a study and found most small businesses receive approximately 13 calls each day. Considering there are approximately 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S., the number jumps to about 400 million incoming calls from potential customers. [Looking for a business phone system? Check out our best picks and reviews.]

"High call volume can overwhelm any small business, especially when coupled with peak call times and the ever-increasing monsoon of spam callers," Summers wrote. "CallJoy helps small business owners offer better customer service, make more informed business decisions and ultimately increase productivity."

To keep high call volumes from hampering productivity throughout the day, CallJoy provides a sort of virtual customer service representative to handle calls.

Rather than someone answering common questions like a store's business hours over the phone, CallJoy's virtual agent can provide that information through its integration with Google My Business. Similarly, if the answer to a caller's question is available online, the virtual agent can offer to send a text message with a link to the relevant answer.

Along with the service's ability to answer queries, CallJoy includes a local phone number – you can't port existing numbers – and allows users to set a custom greeting for the AI to use. Once online, the service also immediately begins blocking spam calls.

Editor's note: Looking for a phone answering service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

While Google says this new service could make it easier for customers to get basic information about a business, it claims the service will also give business owners a better understanding of what their customers expect from them.

Whether the virtual assistant handles the entire call or an actual person picks up the phone to finish a conversation, CallJoy will record and transcribe each call. Transcripts are then stored in the cloud, where users can filter and tag conversations for future use. It can also compile additional data – including call volume, call length, and the number of new vs. repeat callers – and share it in a daily email update.

CallJoy is still in the invite-only phase, though small business owners in the U.S. can fill out an application to receive more information when the service is available to more users. Given Google's propensity for announcing new products and initiatives only to ax them later, we'll see if this virtual answering service takes off.

Andrew Martins

Andrew Martins is an award-winning journalist with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Before joining business.com and Business News Daily, he wrote for a regional publication and served as the managing editor for six weekly papers that spanned four counties. Currently, he is responsible for reviewing tax software and online fax services. He is a New Jersey native and a first-generation Portuguese American, and he has a penchant for the nerdy.