A smiling male customer service representatives uses a headset to talk to a customer via a call center service.
Business phone providers have rolled out a host of artificial intelligence-backed features to help businesses boost productivity and deliver a smooth customer experience. — Getty Images/Maskot

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies enhance business phone systems, allowing companies to automate processes and achieve high-level communication goals. Indeed, since 2020, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers like Dialpad and RingCentral have rolled out new AI features, including AI-enabled voice coaching and video meeting summaries.

AI-powered business phone solutions do more than support your staff and corporate objectives. These capabilities, paired with unified communications tools, can empower your customers. Learn how AI enhances phone services and what it means for your company.

AI streamlines call routing

Today, small business phone services provide virtual receptionists and call flow editors, from Nextiva’s single and multilevel auto attendants to RingCentral’s interactive voice response (IVR) system. Companies set call routing configurations. The system automatically greets callers and sends them to the correct department or voicemail box.

Organizations can use intelligent call routing technologies to decrease wait times and manual call transfers when call volumes increase. Already, IVR systems rely on AI to manage keyed and voice requests.

However, advanced solutions use machine learning and natural language processing to analyze incoming calls. The IVR will instantly connect customers to the right person by looking at previous call histories and behavioral data.

[Read more: 4 Effective Ways Small Businesses Can Leverage AI]

Reimagine work meetings with AI tools

Many modern VoIP platforms offer audio and video conferencing capabilities, allowing remote and onsite teams to connect via internet-connected devices. However, leading hybrid meetings is challenging, so AI-enabled meeting tools greatly help.

Intelligent noise-reduction features automatically adjust sounds based on the user’s environment and computer performance. Eliminating background noises keeps your team members focused on the presentation, so they are not easly distracted by sounds from multiple home offices. In addition, RingCentral and Webex provide AI virtual assistants. These tools can make your meetings more engaging, productive, and actionable.

Here are a few ways businesses use AI to improve video conferences:

  • AI auto-summarizes meetings and highlights, giving employees a ready-made summary to download or share.
  • It automatically transcribes the conference and attributes text to the correct speaker in real time so latecomers can see what they missed.
  • Team members can use voice or text commands, and the virtual assistant will perform simple tasks.
  • AI can pull out keywords and action items from spoken words so that managers can assign tasks during a meeting.

Integrated AI strengthens security and privacy measures

Cloud-based phone systems with end-to-end encryption help keep customer data secure. But cybercriminals still use AI to break into business networks, spam lines, and more.

Companies can leverage AI-powered security tools to fight AI crime. AI technologies monitor phone networks for unusual activity and adapt to threats in real time.

AI fraud-detection tools consist of the following:

  • Caller ID spoofing detection.
  • Call pattern analysis and traffic monitoring.
  • Credit card fraud detection.
  • Call content analysis.
  • Call authentication systems.

Other features help businesses meet privacy and security standards. For instance, Dialpad uses AI to automatically redact personally identifiable information from meeting and call transcripts. This process occurs in real time, ensuring your client’s data remains private.

Nearly every AI tool can help your staff complete tasks quickly. A few minutes here and there really add up. For instance, Nextiva, RingCentral, and 8x8 use AI to transcribe voicemail to email or text.

AI supports sales and customer service agents

Business phone and call center systems offer emotional intelligence AI and agent-assist features. These technologies help employees answer callers’ questions, improve their speaking cadence, and learn from every experience.

Emotional intelligence AI relies on sentiment analysis. It examines the customer’s voice and tone while reviewing past interactions. Then, the AI recommends solutions to the support or sales representative.

Dialpad has a robust AI system. Its real-time assist cards provide live feedback to agents, and they can access knowledge bases to find answers to customer questions. Dialpad also debuted custom sales playbooks. These steer your sales staff through discovery calls and demos while providing real-time guidance and AI-generated call summaries.

[Read more: What's the Difference Between Traditional and Generative AI?]

Leverage conversational AI in unified communications

With a unified communications platform, companies can give customers more options to contact them without buying separate subscriptions for voice, video, and messaging services. These systems are ideal for increasing your reach without stretching your budget. LivePerson data showed that “85% of consumers worldwide would like to message with brands,” and 75% report spending more with brands that offer messaging.

Most vendors have unified VoIP systems, including RingCentral, Nextiva, and 8x8. However, managing multiple channels is complicated. AI solutions like 8x8’s intelligent customer assistant add-on and conversational chatbots reduce workloads and improve client engagement.

Indeed, 76% of respondents to an 8x8 survey said “that conversational AI/chatbot capabilities are revolutionizing business communications.” Alternatively, Vonage AI Studio has a low-code option that companies can use to create engaging multichannel experiences.

Incorporating conversational AI tools with your business phone system helps organizations to:

  • Enhance customer service capabilities.
  • Decrease customer wait times.
  • Improve client satisfaction.
  • Simplify internal workflows.
  • Reduce operational costs.

AI-powered business phone systems increase productivity

Nearly every AI tool can help your staff complete tasks quickly. A few minutes here and there really add up. For instance, Nextiva, RingCentral, and 8x8 use AI to transcribe voicemail to email or text.

Your staff can scan messages on any device instead of calling into a voicemail service. Likewise, integrations and workflow automations reduce manual data entry, from after-call work to customer profile updates.

Business phone systems with AI boost productivity by accomplishing the following:

  • Employees save time by scrolling through visual voicemail messages and reading voicemail transcriptions on mobile or desktop devices.
  • Sales autodialers enable reps to prioritize calls and connect to leads without locating prospect information or manually dialing.
  • AI call and video transcriptions mean employees spend less time taking notes and more time listening to customers.
  • Automated call routing systems help companies handle high call volumes with minimal human intervention.
  • Autotext replies communicate with new customers instantly, even if your office is closed or all lines are busy.

Businesses use AI phone features to improve CX

Business phone systems with AI features enable leaders to meet customer expectations with fast response times and personalized conversations. AI tools that improve the customer experience (CX) range from smart call routing options to advanced speech analytics. Customer service reps believe AI sentiment analysis capabilities enhance CX, with 84% telling HubSpot that AI technologies somewhat or significantly improve it.

But even standard AI features can boost the CX without piling on extra costs. Nextiva’s call pop function puts caller details on employee screens before they answer the line. Dialpad’s behavioral profiles allow sales and service teams to anticipate needs.

[Read more: Everything You Should Know About Choosing a Business Phone System]

AI delivers actionable data insights

Small and midsized businesses can learn from every conversation with AI-based analytics and intelligence tools. Companies can review call and message data for negative customer sentiment and identify contact volume trends by channel. For instance, keyword and call volume reports may highlight a connection between unhappy callers during peak hours with longer wait times.

Call flow analytics can pinpoint bottlenecks in your call routing and distribution system. You may see more customers ending the call at a certain point in their journey or more manual call transfers occurring, suggesting that callers are choosing the wrong menu option or that the process is confusing.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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