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Helping small businesses grow with conversational AI assistants

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Whether it’s tailor-made services or a bustling local brunch spot, phone calls are a vital avenue for serving people, creating loyal customers, and building trust. Small businesses face the difficulty of balancing calls, emails, and other modes of inquiry to keep operations running smoothly. If there’s only a sole owner or small staff, numerous opportunities fall through the cracks, but Goodcall knows there’s a better way.

Founder and CEO of Goodcall, Bob Summers, wants to expand the availability of conversational AI to small businesses struggling to balance their livelihood and tending to “fractional tasks.” An average of 65% of calls go unanswered, according to Summers, and they’re often a customer on a buying journey who first needs a few common questions answered and then book appointment, get a table reservation or buy a product.

“What if we could bring in AI to solve that problem?” Summers initially hypothesized. “To automate some of the fractional tasks that all of these small business owners have because really what they love is serving their customer.”

Their aim is to improve the customer service experience for businesses and their callers, utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to answer phone calls and understand a caller’s query to provide the best response. Maids, barbers, plumbers, real estate agents, lawyers and other local services benefit from increased productivity with a Goodcall agent which understands and serves their customer’s needs.

Thousands of companies across the United States rely on Goodcall to take care of the busy work so they can focus on what keeps the customers happy. They understand the importance of humanizing the process of integrating AI, so that the last thing you do is press zero on the keypad.

Building an in-house expert for small businesses
Dealing with automated electronic customer support is an experience all of us are familiar with, one that quickly escalates to exasperation when a caller is required to press multiple buttons to potentially get an answer. Most people are quick to request a human representative. Ensuring human-like conversational quality is a top priority for Goodcall. To do that means their solution needs to avoid AI hallucinations and produce smooth speech with near zero latency. Knowing their model’s responses have real-world consequences, especially for the bottom line of small businesses, it all boils down to keeping the facts clear by delivering the highest quality AI experience possible.

“It’s an internal goal to never hallucinate,” Summers told Microsoft for Startups. “Someone could be harmed; someone could show up for an appointment they don’t have. For example, these are things in the real world. When our bots talk with customers, real things happen in the world for real businesses, so we cannot afford to have hallucination in the product.”

Three different AI models work in tandem to create Goodcall—natural language processes (NLP), speech to text, and text to speech—all of which contribute to their base model’s understanding of natural, conversational language for small businesses. Every interaction is fed back into a business’ own model to create a highly personalized agent to be their in-house expert. It also has a feature that allows the model to request help from the business owner or manager when it encounters a query that it can’t answer. This way, it can learn from feedback and improve performance over time.

Built by coders for coders
Conversational quality, latency, and reliability were primary benchmarks Goodcall set to compare providers across the AI cloud market. Not only is Azure cost-effective, but programs like Founders Hub provide an environment for scalability with support, technical staff, and personalized assistance to ensure the team had everything they needed to do what they do best—create innovative solutions and solve customer problems.

To handle the volume of calls that service thousands of companies across the country, Goodcall requires a robust, fast, and reliable platform that can support its AI system and provide high-quality conversational experiences for its customers.

“Microsoft was founded by coders for coders. It’s prevalent when you work with the Azure AI stack,” Summers explained. “When you go into the studio, you start selecting models, you get your API keys—you’re building before you even know it. That’s real exciting for my team. It provides us with efficiency and speed to build a product that is of high production quality for our customers.”

Programs such as Founders Hub and one-on-one support from Microsoft’s technical experts, startup mentors, and other subject matter experts provide the timely assistance needed to keep the gears turning smoothly.

The golden era of AI innovation is here
It’s important to listen to the customer to ensure a product is creates solutions for the target audience. So, how do you do that in this day and age? To be a cut above the rest is a difficult feat in and of itself, but in a rapidly growing market like AI? Well, Summers encourages aspiring startups to participate in this era together.

“How do we keep up with it? Well, in some ways we don’t,” Summers offers candidly. “But when we can, we talk to advisors. Some of those advisors are at Microsoft to help us navigate that way, but the best thing is talk to your peers and learn as they learn because it really is a golden era—a new age. There are no experts. We’re all in this together trying to figure it out.”


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