The internet has created many new ways for consumers to find and connect with local businesses. Though a lot of communication happens online, companies still need phones to reach customers that want to speak to a representative. Last week, Google launched a new service that provides automatic and call intelligence services for $39 per month.

Google’s new virtual agent service is named CallJoy. This cloud-based phone agent allows small business owners to measure, improve and automate customer service. These features should make it easier for small businesses to use their phone lines to generate sales and improve customer service.

For automation, the business can set up an automated message that includes basic customer service information, like business hours. You can also set up the system, so if a person needs help with something that can be done online, the CallJoy virtual agent will send the caller a text with a URL to the page they need.

Everything that is said to the CallJoy virtual agent is recorded and transcribed, which can help businesses fine-tune their automated messages. You can search through the conversations for commonly asked questions or other issues that need to be addressed. CallJoy can also help companies to work more productively by blocking the spam calls that bombard many small business owners.

Setting up CallJoy is simple. After a quick setup, the system will give you a local phone number for your business. CallJoy will immediately begin blocking unwanted spam calls. You can then use the automated system to set up custom greetings, menu options and more.

Businesses that used CallJoy during the beta period reported favorable accounts. In the blog post announcing the feature, Google told the account of one of these businesses.

Bob Summers, the General Manager for CallJoy wrote, “Take for example one of the top Chinese fusion takeout eateries in Austin, Texas. Before joining CallJoy’s beta program, the restaurant staff didn’t have the bandwidth to answer incoming calls while juggling food preparation and in-restaurant diner needs. Since adding CallJoy’s textback feature, the restaurant has decreased hold times and increased productivity by automatically texting callers a URL to place their orders online.”

CallJoy is another sign of Google’s shift toward adding more services with a monthly fee. Last week, Google also said they were considering a monthly fee for new advanced features that would be coming to Google My Business in the near future. If they were to take advantage of all of these new services, businesses could go to paying nothing for Google small business services to paying more than $100 per month.

Though paying for Google services other than ads is new to most business owners, the value of the systems Google is offering makes these products worth trying. If appropriately used, CallJoy will help businesses help more consumers and provide better customer service.

For more recent news about changes and updates to Google, read this article on the new design of Google Custom Search.