What’s More Profitable Interactive Voice Response (IVR), or a Telephone Answering Service? Artificial Intelligence v Telephone Answering Teams. We look at the latest tech and choices you have for answering your customer’s calls which include: Skip to main content

Artificial Intelligence v Telephone Answering Teams

We look at the latest tech and choices you have for answering your customer’s calls which include:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay. We use it every day online and when we call a business. Recently, there’s a buzz around ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer partnered with Microsoft); Is it the answer to automated customer care? Is a Telephone Answering Service more profitable than a chatbot or is Interactive Voice Response (IVR) best?

When you run a business, you want to automate as much as possible, to increase your profit. But automation needs some thought, otherwise, you could end up losing customers or even worse giving a negative experience.

In detail:

ChatGPT (what it does and doesn’t do for business)

  • The Chatbot market in 2023
  • Interactive Voice Response
  • Interactive Voice Response v Telephone Answering
  • Customer care for profit
  • Summation

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There’s quite a lot of jargon attached to this Chatbot. For instance, GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, not a useful title, is it? The reason it is receiving so much press and Internet coverage is due to the way it interacts conversationally, you know, like a real human being.

You can sign up and test it for yourself. You open an account. You type in some questions or ‘prompts’ and it will return a reply in ‘human-like’ language. Because it is an OpenAI project, anyone can use it and train the software to answer customer questions, perhaps the most sophisticated Chatbot you could have on your website.

The Chatbot Market in 2023

The chatbot market is crowded with some big players like Zendesk and HubSpot and smaller ones like WP-Chatbot. The trend is to create ‘omnichannel’ communications. Which is combining all the possible different communication methods into a seamless customer experience. Indeed, AI (Artificial Intelligence) chatbots will become more specialised in markets like healthcare. For the business owner, the key is the ability to automate lead generation, marketing engagement and brand awareness.

The downside of chatbots (and IVR) is they are programmed. What if the programme fails to answer a customer’s question? That limited response will lead to prospects and customer frustration, therefore a bad experience that they are likely to talk about. That leads to negative word-of-mouth. Chatbots (and IVR) are unable to answer multi-part questions or questions that require decisions.

The most important factor? Chatbots (and IVR) cannot offer any empathy. A trained and empathetic phone operator will supply that human touch and be able to ‘listen’ to what the customer wants and be able to react if the lead or customer is starting to experience any frustration.

Of course, a chatbot has its uses. They can offer quick answers to basic questions such as ‘how do I contact your customer service?’ A question that indicates the need to talk to a real human being. But what about IVR?

Interactive Voice Response

IVR is an automated telephone system. Pre-recorded messages are the normal response to a caller. Systems also use text-to-speech technology. In the jargon, this is known as ‘a dual-tone multi-frequency’ (DTMF) interface.

IVR has its uses for high-volume phone lines that have a simple offering. They cannot replace the empathy, improvisation and care of a person. It does cut down hold time for the caller but what if their question or need requires some thought?

61% of consumers think IVRs make for a poor experience (Vonage research). What is worse is the statistic that 51% abandon a business due to this poor experience with IVR.

Interactive Voice Response v Telephone Answering

How can you ‘train’ IVR to listen to the ‘person?’ How can you give that automated system the ability to soothe frustration and turn an angry customer into an advocate for your business? In my experience, if you solve a customer’s frustration, they are happy, full of praise and more willing to talk about a business in a positive light. Thus, gaining your business positive word-of-mouth.

Customer Care for Profit

Can IVR upsell a customer to a more expensive product or service? Can IVR cross-sell to a complimentary product or accessory? IVR is becoming more sophisticated but such a system cannot replace a canny telephone person with some sales knowledge.


Artificial Intelligence is remarkable. When used aptly it does pay off. Real intelligence, that of a human being is far superior. Real people from a telephone answering service are adaptable, productive, and capable of answering the multitude of questions a business attracts and all done with empathy. A positive ‘voice’ for your brand.

We have a highly experienced telephone answering team. Why not call us today on 01582 540540 and find out how we can help your business become more profitable?

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