What is an AI Receptionist and how does it work?

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what is an AI receptionist

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As the dawn of a new technological era unfolds, AI technologies like ChatGPT are leading a monumental shift in how businesses interact with customers and manage their operations. These advanced AI systems, capable of understanding and communicating like humans, are not just tools but revolutionary forces reshaping industries.

At the heart of this transformation is the rise of AI Receptionists, a direct application of AI’s ability to learn from vast amounts of data and help businesses grow efficiently.

What is an AI receptionist?

An AI Receptionist is like a virtual helper that can talk and listen to people, working similarly to a human. It can answer phones, schedule appointments, solve admin tasks, and more, all by itself. It keeps learning as more data streams are connected and trained. Just like a real person at a front desk, it helps guide and assist visitors or callers, but it does so using technology, understanding what people need, and responding. And it also sounds like a lovely human.

A short demo of an AI receptionist for a beauty salon

How does it work?

To understand how these systems work, one needs to briefly understand the underlying technologies. 3 main technologies are working together under the hood.

  1. Large Language Models (LLMs):
    Let’s ask what is LLM to ChatGPT:
    Large Language Models (LLMs) are like super-smart computer programs designed to understand and use human language. Imagine a giant book that has read almost everything on the internet — from stories to conversations, to how people ask questions and give answers. LLMs work by looking at all this information to learn patterns and rules about language. They’re good at making sense of words, figuring out what you mean, and even creating new sentences and ideas, just like a person talking or writing.
    To see it in action
  2. Synthetic Voices:
    Synthetic voices are computer-made sounds that are designed to talk like humans. They can read out text or speak on their own, sounding much like a real person does.
    Thanks to AI, voice technology is advanced. Surely one has seen some deep fake ADs of celebrities that sound and look exactly like them. One can even clone their voice within a minute.
  3. Text-To-Speech and Speech-To-Text:
    Text-to-speech is when the computer takes written words and turns them into spoken words, like reading out loud for you. Speech-to-text is the opposite: it’s when you talk, and the computer listens and writes down what you say, turning your spoken words into written text.

When all three of these are combined, one gets a human-level robot that can speak, listen, think, write, and solve tasks making it a perfect assistant. That’s basically how AI receptionists work.

Advantages of an AI Receptionist

The advantages are countless when one can offload boring tasks to a robot. A few of the top ones are:

  1. Available 24/7: It can work all day and night, every day, without needing breaks or time off. No more missed opportunities. Always the best customer experience.
  2. Quick Responses: It answers questions and gives information very fast, reducing wait times. It can also simultaneously handle multiple calls. Zekyaa AI currently handles up to 100 calls per number.
  3. Reduce Operational Cost: Though building an AI receptionist that doesn’t require human assistance is still a few years away, the current technology can already enable one person to handle the work of 5 through AI. Depending on the business, simpler transaction businesses can already just implement AI instead of a human receptionist. The cost savings can be huge.
    Also, receptionists are one of the fastest churning jobs due to low salaries and poor job satisfaction. It’s time to say goodbye to training tensions and frequent compensation packages.
  4. Continuous Learning: It gets better over time as it learns from its conversations and experiences. Eventually, it will be able to do more admin tasks.
  5. Time Savings: The AI receptionist takes care of the customers so the businesses can focus on more important tasks.

Challenges with current technology

As the technology is fairly new, there are challenges to be solved until the AI receptionists are fully capable as humans. Rather than disadvantages, it is right to call them challenges that are yet to be resolved but with enough time and development, it will overcome them.

  1. Misunderstandings: Sometimes, it might misunderstand complex questions or accents, leading to confusion. Though the current technology is highly capable of getting it correct in most conversations in English, there will be situations where customers will be required to repeat clearly.
    As humans don’t talk like they write, it can be challenging. That said, with enough data and time, AI will be able to understand.
  2. Accents and languages: The top-performing AI models currently have been trained with English language data. Hence, it can best be performed in English. Though popular AI like ChatGPT is multilingual, it can’t understand as well in other languages as in English.
    Especially for languages from smaller regions.
  3. Integrations: Integrations with current business is what makes these AI capable of solving more problems. It’s similar to training a human staff in a new software or process. Due to how early this technology is, it will require some time to integrate with the business tools. Till then, it will still ask you for help or forward calls.

What businesses can use AI receptionists?

Any business that has a help desk can leverage this technology. Below are some examples:

  1. Clinics/Dentals: They can use AI receptionists to handle appointment scheduling, provide reminders, and answer common questions about office hours, services, and procedures, enhancing patient communication and freeing up staff time.
  2. Hotels: AI receptionists can assist guests with bookings, provide information about amenities, check-in procedures, and local attractions, and offer 24/7 support for guest inquiries, improving the overall guest experience.
  3. Salons, Spas, Massage businesses, and Barbers: AI can manage appointment bookings, offer details about services, and handle cancellations or changes, ensuring a smooth operation and enhancing the customer experience.
  4. Auto Dealers: AI receptionists can assist with booking test drives, providing information about different models, and answering frequently asked questions about financing and features, enhancing the buyer’s journey and operational efficiency.
  5. Auto Repair Shops: They can help schedule repair appointments, provide estimates, and answer questions about services and availability, improving customer service and shop workflow.
  6. Home Services: Home service businesses like HVAC, plumbers, tradesmen, contractors, etc can use AI receptionists to convert calls into appointments. It helps to avoid getting distracted while during a job or after hours at home.
  7. Restaurants: AI receptionists can take reservations, provide menu information, and handle customer service inquiries, enhancing the dining experience.
  8. Retail Stores: AI can offer instant customer service, provide product details, help with order tracking and returns, and address complaints, improving customer satisfaction.

Ready to meet your AI receptionist?

Zekyaa AI is the #1 AI receptionist solution provider. With customizable voices and personalized workflows for different industries, businesses can build and create their powerful AI receptionists in minutes.

Ready to try it for yourself?

Get a personalized demo to see how Zekyaa can help your
transform and improve contact center experience.