January 2, 2019

Google Pixel 3 New Call Screening Feature And What It Means For SMBs

Google recently released the third iteration of its beloved smartphone line, Google Pixel 3. While it comes with the usual upgrades, like a faster processor and better camera, one software feature has received tons of press and interest from consumers.

google call screening

In particular, the call screening feature that uses artificial intelligence (AI). Unlike call blocking apps, this feature uses a real-time transcription to identify a caller's purpose before the owner of the phone picks up.

How Does Call Screening Affect Businesses

While that may be a consumer-friendly feature, it may affect how small and medium businesses (SMBs) conduct outbound sales. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing. SMBs can use this feature to build trust and rapport throughout the sales process if they approach it in the right way.

How Call Screening Works on the Google Pixel 3

First, it's essential to understand how the system works. What does the user see on their screen whenever an unknown number comes up? Here's a quick look at how the call screening feature works.

Already Enabled on Phones
It's important first to note that the owner of a Pixel 3 doesn't need to do anything to enable this call screening feature - it's turned on by default.

User Receive Options When Call Happens
When a call comes in, there's an option to answer, decline, or screen the call. If the screen call button is selected, the Google assistant (the AI smartphone helper) automatically answers the call, while the user only sees a text of the ensuing conversation.

Caller Receives Notification
The person calling hears Google assistant say: "Hi, the person you're calling is using a screening service from Google, and gets a copy of this conversation. Go ahead and say your name, and why you're calling."

System Transcribes Call to User
At this point, the caller can respond with whatever they have to say. The system transcribes the caller's voice in real time to the user's phone screen. This intermediate step allows the user to see the purpose of the call, without having yet answered it.

The accuracy of the transcription depends on how well the person is speaking, but it's typically quite accurate. The user then has the option to either end or accept the call. If they're still unclear of the purpose, they can prompt the Google assistant to ask further questions such as "is it urgent?" or "tell me more".

Specific phrases like "I'll call you back" or "call me back" prompt the Google assistant to say those words and then end the phone call. The user can also determine whether the call is a robocall or an unwanted telemarketer. In that case, they have the option to report the call as spam and add it to a block list.

At any point throughout this process, the user has the option to answer the call and converse like normal.

How Does Call Screening Affect SMBs?

It seems like a difficult barrier to overcome, but the truth is that call screening can help the sales process. This feature was born of frustration from users inundated with spoofed numbers and scam robocalls.

This software can help businesses that have real value to provide without resorting to murky means. It also helps weed out the players who give a bad name to the whole industry. Ultimately, play by the rules, and this has the potential to help you in the long run.

That said, it's crucial to brief sales teams on how to approach this new system correctly. Mainly because, this technology is going to be available on more operating systems soon. There are a few things to keep in mind while developing a new strategy for call screening.

Build Trust

While it's tempting to say anything to the Google assistant to make the other person pick up, that tactic only works once. Instead, use this opportunity, to be honest with potential clients. Opening up immediately about what you can offer them buildings trust. Gaining trust before they've even answered the phone can be a huge step along the sales funnel.

Be Prepared

Using AI phone screening is a fairly new tactic, but it's about to become a lot more widespread. The truth is that the sales approach has to be different for a live person and an AI screener.

Make sure that you've developed a two-tier system for opening pitches. One for traditional calls and the other for AI screened calls. There's no guarantee that your calls are accepted each time, but a tailored approach is less likely to land your number on a spam list.

Be Clear

Google has made many advances in audio transcriptions, but it's not perfect yet. If the system can't understand what a caller is saying, it's going to make for a garbled, illegible transcription. That confusion makes it less likely that they'll answer their phone in the first place.

Train employees to use clear, calm voices when dealing with AI. Once they get to a live person, they can inject their personality back into the call.

Moving Forward with Call Screening

Like most new technologies, there are plenty of challenges that Google's Pixel 3 call screening feature presents. However, those challenges also present plenty of opportunities including the chance to get ahead of competitors. Lastly, it's important to remember that there are still real humans on both sides of the phone. Hopefully, that's something that doesn't change for a long time.

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