Google intros CallJoy virtual customer service agent for SMBs

CallJoy is a cloud-based phone agent and spam blocker that aims to help SMBs measure, automate and improve customer service.

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There are roughly 30.2 million small businesses in the US, and according to research from Google's experimental product lab Area 120, those businesses receive an average of 13 phone calls every day, for a total of roughly 400 million inbound calls to local businesses on any given day. With that in mind, Google on Wednesday introduced CallJoy, a cloud-based phone agent and spam blocker that aims to help SMBs measure, automate and improve customer service.

Developed as part of Area 120, CallJoy rolls existing Google technologies -- such as Google Voice, the AI assistant Duplex and Call Screen -- into one product, for $39 per month. Upon setup, businesses are provided a local phone number, with CallJoy automatically blocking unwanted spam calls. 

From there, when an actual customer calls the number, the CallJoy agent will answer and greet the caller with a custom message and provide basic business information. The agent will also direct the caller to a website if their request can be handled online -- for instance, if they want to book an appointment or place an order -- by sending an SMS text message containing a URL.

Another key aspect of CallJoy is the way it gathers and compiles data for the business owner. Whether the caller speaks with a live person or just interacts with the virtual agent, the call is recorded and transcribed and the data compiled into an online dashboard. The metrics are also emailed to the business owner, providing data points such as peak call times, call volume and new versus returning callers. 

Google said it's been testing CallJoy in beta and that it's now available in early access for select small businesses.