IntelePeer: Phone Calls Are Out, Text Messages And Chatbots Are In

Ninety-eight percent of texts in the U.S. are opened within three minutes, Peter Neal, senior solutions engineer at IntelePeer, told a crowd of solution providers Tuesday. ‘It’s a solid way to engage with people. Even when you’re trying to go out and find new customers, take advantage of that window of time.’


When it comes to customer attention, voice and email communications are out, text message is the “new hot button” and the potential for automation through social media and chatbots could mean more sales and higher customer satisfaction.

Today, the volume of spam calls has resulted in phone users answering fewer calls, Peter Neal, senior solutions engineer at IntelePeer Cloud Communications, told a crowd of solution providers Tuesday. The deluge of email means ones without a compelling subject line or important sender go to the trash.

But 98 percent of texts in the U.S. are opened within three minutes, Neal said. “It’s a solid way to engage with people, he said. “Even when you’re trying to go out and find new customers, take advantage of that window of time.”

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Neal’s presentation was part of the final day of XChange+ 2021 in San Antonio this week. XChange+ 2021 is hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company.

It was also the second presentation from IntelePeer during the event. On Sunday, a separate IntelePeer executive unveiled a new self-serve provisioning tool for MSPs around Microsoft Teams to launch in the coming weeks aimed at driving more voice services sales as Teams picks up speed in the new remote workforce era.

“We know that you all know what the heck you’re doing,” Neal told attendees. “So we will provide what we can to help bring a holistic solution to the customer.”

Hermann Masser, owner of El Paso, Texas-based MSP Masser Technologies—No. 82 on CRN’s 2021 Fast Growth 150—told CRN in an interview that he came to Tuesday’s presentation to learn more about IntelePeer’s offerings, especially its chatbots. He’s been interested in chatbots to help automate front desk operations for his customers. Masser used the example of wanting a chatbot to cut down on the time it takes health-care-related receptionists to answer patient questions and schedule appointments.

Masser used his phone to participate in a live demonstration of an IntelePeer chatbot during the company’s presentation. He said he liked that the chatbot took pauses after his messages, giving a more human feel to the conversation than if the bot provided immediate replies.

“I see how something like this can offload a lot of work on the front end,” Masser said.

Chatbots also have the attention of the largest tech vendors. Microsoft, for example, has highlighted the ability for workers without coding and data science experience to create chatbots through Power Platform. And IBM’s Watson Assistant can create multilingual chatbots.

IntelePeer’s Neal did note that while outbound calls are passé, his company offers various services to improve the experience for inbound calls.

In one example, the state of Vermont enlisted IntelePeer to find out how long callers actually listened to a 12-second message saying that agents were too busy to take the call and to please try again later.

“We found that 78 percent of 5,000 calls a day were listening to the entire message before they dropped off,” Neal said. “We went back to the state and we said, ‘Hey, the vast majority of people are listening to your message. If you want to add additional detail, additional ways that those people can find a way to register with you for that vaccine a la a website or some other kind of mechanism, go ahead and redo your audio.”

“Business analytics can actually have an extremely beneficial use,” he said.