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PT Bank Maybank Indonesia Tbk (Maybank Indonesia or the Bank) is one of the leading private banks in Indonesia that is also a part of Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank) Group, the fourth-largest bank by assets in Southeast Asia. Previously named, PT Bank International Indonesia Tbk (BII), founded on 15 May 1959, obtained its license as a foreign exchange bank in 1988, and its shares were listed as a public company in the Jakarta Stock Exchange and Surabaya Stock Exchange (now merged as Indonesia Stock Exchange) in 1989.

As one of the digital banking pioneers in Indonesia, Maybank Indonesia has continuously developed its digital banking offering with milestones outlined below: 

In 1998, Maybank Indonesia was the first bank to launch an Internet Banking service in Indonesia 

In 1999, launched US Dollar ATM 

In 2003, Maybank launched Cash Deposit Machine

In 2011, the bank launched its first mobile banking and SMS banking app

In 2024, Maybank launched the M2U app as one of the first Omnichannel mobile and internet banking experiences

In 2023, it launched cardless ATM cash withdrawals to provide seamless mobile banking transactions

In 2023, Maybank launched a new revamped M2U app which provides a more comprehensive and relevant set of features for customer financial and daily needs, including the capability for online account opening. 

In 2023, it launched an online mutual fund transaction STP capability on M2U App to help customers in their financial management

In 2023, the bank added new features, such as the eKYC feature to support online account opening, cardless ATM withdrawal using QR code, and e-wallet card top-up capability via M2U App using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to secure further M2U’s positioning as the one-stop financial solution app

Maybank Indonesia has continued to enhance its digital solution to provide complete financial solutions focusing on customer experiences. Customer is always at the center of the bank’s strategy, and the team has always focused on addressing customer pain points accordingly when developing digital solutions. The company has built a robust ecosystem with more than 300 billers supported, over 600 virtual accounts partners, and more than 14 million merchants supporting all payment types such as debit, credit, and QR Pay. 

Those various development have provided customers with Omnichannel banking experience through ATM, internet, mobile, STP online account opening, and the latest API Management technology. With consistency to build excellence in serving all communities with quality product innovation, simple processes, and digital connectivity, Maybank Indonesia continues to strengthen its position as a BANK FOR ALL, now and in the future.

A Go-to Tech Expert Spearheading the Fintech Ecosystem 

Michel Hamilton is the Chief Strategy, Transformation & Digital Officer of Maybank Indonesia. He has over 19 years of working experience with deep exposure in the banking, insurance, telecommunication, and retail domain industry. His primary field of expertise is:

1. Corporate strategy and enterprise transformation delivery- defining the corporate strategic direction and driving the key transformation initiatives execution.

2. Enterprise digital business solution and innovator through cutting-edge technology adoption, delivering new business models and revenue streams specifically for financial services, plantation, heavy utilities, and the healthcare industry.

3. Data and analytics management consists of Advanced analytics for leveraging mathematical and statistic modelling to generate business insight through descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analysis

a. Information management for managing enterprise data through the traditional data warehouse and big data technology to generate business intelligence and MIS reporting

b. Data operating model and governance for defining and designing the data operating model, organization structure as well as data policy and procedure

4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, and technology delivery transformation 

Michel has successfully developed and nurtured a high-performing team in numerous units with a high integrity culture throughout his career evolution. Being a people person, Michel is keen to engage with various stakeholders and identify the best approach to communicate among them. Additionally, he is also a season guest lecturer for a reputable university and a public speaker on certain occasions since 2024.

At Maybank Indonesia, as the CEO’s direct report, Michel is mandated to lead and be the agent of change in the bank to shape, transform, redefine, fine-tune and sharpen the bank-wide strategy and ensure the execution and benefit realization of the strategic transformation program. The strategy and transformation initiatives will be related to business strategy, digital transformation, data and analytics, and process excellence delivery. Michel works closely with all elements in the bank from all departments and divisions. He also aligns with the regional team to ensure a clear roadmap and coordination on all corporate strategy initiative execution. 

In 2023, Michel was assigned to grow the bank’s digital business in alignment with a local and regional strategy that put digital at the core of the bank’s strategy. Currently, he is leading more than 100 team members using CAPEX of IDR 75bn for digital enhancement to accelerate the digitalization agenda of the bank rapidly. Over the first year of the mandate, the digital business, transaction, volume and revenue have grown more than 35% YoY. In late 2023, Michel was also assigned to lead the digital non-retail solution, including transaction channel, Open API, digital trade, and digital supply chain financing solution.

Data Analytics and Customer Segmentation as a Trigger to Digital Business 

Michel opines that data analytics has become a crucial part of developing digital business. Today’s business success is how to get better in touch and very much connected with consumers approaching for various needs and aspirations. Yet, in a constantly evolving digital technology, knowing what consumers want has always been a challenge, given the ever-changing conditions in the social and cultural settings, environment, and technological development. To be at the forefront, a business must identify and recognize its relevance in the mass market by using an approach to customer segmentation. 

Businesses can use consumer segmentation to help identify the most effective and innovative product and service offerings. Michel states that nearly all industries need a tool to get the insights and make necessary adjustments or additions to their products and services to ensure customers’ requirements are fulfilled.

A Paradigm Shift in Mindset and Tech Approach 

Michel describes that the main challenge in a transformation journey usually starts with shifting the paradigm and mindset of the incumbent executive, management, and operational level about the urgency and necessity of having a focus on continuous improvement and transformation. It’s always the case in a large-scale organization that they tend to be comfortable with their current performance without really realizing that there’s a grave threat if they do not try to change and can adapt or adopt to the rapid change of the world.

He adds that it requires a lot of patience, listening, communication, and consistency to be able to change and make everyone in the organization on board with the need for transformation. As the agent of change for the Bank, Michel reveals that he strives to ensure that the team can continuously show the real benefit and business value, even if it’s small, by having a pilot-based approach to every digital innovation that needs to be introduced. He presumes that it also embraces all units in the organization and includes the customer to be part of the journey and evolution of the change. 

A String of Invaluable Leadership Traits 

According to Michel, first and foremost, the basic knowledge of how financial institutions work is paramount. Secondly, knowledge of the fundamental and up-to-date digital technology and trend will help navigate the ever faster changing environment of the digital financial industry. Knowledge of data analytics is as necessary as comprehensive data analytics for the team to understand customers’ needs and pain points better. Hence, the company can deliver superior products and services to win against the competition. Lastly, as with any leader, soft skill sets such as leadership, communication, and relationship building, are crucial in managing and running superior teams to deliver the business target.

Delivering Personalized Solutions through ‘Enterprise Data’

In Maybank Indonesia, Michel states that the team is confident and believes that embarking on digital transformation is a critical step and key enabler to successfully embracing the future and understanding customers’ needs. The bank has been on a continuous journey to deliver the most relevant yet, personalized solution that makes banking activities more accessible, faster, simpler, convenient, and secure. Michel discloses that putting the customer at the core of the strategy and focusing on addressing the customer needs and pain points individually through a hyper-personalization approach are needed to develop digital banking service capabilities and solutions.

He highlights that Maybank defines its customer target according to their life stage, personas, and behaviour through big data analytics, better known as the micro-segmentation approach. This approach enables the bank to provide a tailored and relevant solution for each of the different personas. Michel states that they have defined key micro-segment targets as young families, young professionals, mid-lifers, silver age, and golden age. The team designs digital banking capabilities and product solutions differently based on the uniqueness of every one of those segments. One of the unique propositions is to provide a digital solution that serves all communities and societies with conventional and Islamic banking solutions available within the same digital platform. 

Real Empathy, Real Transformation, Real Results 

Michel puts forward that the key to delivering a successful enterprise-wide digital transformation is to ensure alignment among all stakeholders through consistent communication from top management and leaders in all units. Secondly, he remarks that understanding the pain point of the customers and internal stakeholders is crucial in designing and delivering the initiatives so that all stakeholders will well accept the initiatives. To understand the pain points, empathy is a key trait that transformation leaders must possess to ensure success in delivering the transformation agenda and initiatives.

Digitization at the Heart of Uplifting Customer Experience 

Michel indicates that his main goal is to ensure that digital capability will be the main component that can significantly uplift the customer experience and remain convenient for doing their daily activities and transactions with the organization they are dealing with. He believes that digitization is the primary core enabler that helps to aid customers so that they are able to carry out their daily activities in a simpler, convenient, and secure manner. The goal is to ensure that the bank can bring a one-stop lifestyle solution for customers via the digital solution that the team introduces.

In addition to that, he opines that it is also important that digitization can significantly simplify and improve the efficiencies/effectiveness of operations, where it will also help improve staff’s wellbeing, productivity, and work efficiency. This also includes reducing the operational risk via a higher accuracy on the work output via digital and improving the operational discipline and precision.

To a Prosperous Banking Future with Disruptive Technologies 

Michel foresees the following banking industry trends in 2023 and ahead:

With the accelerated digitalization of people’s daily life since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the demand to access financial services through digital channels has increased tremendously, and the growth will continue in 2023 

In Indonesia, from 2023 to 2023, mobile banking transaction volume has grown by a CAGR of 53% and internet banking by 39%

To cope with the more demanding customers and win the competition, banks must continue to adapt and offer relevant financial services that can be accessed digitally, anytime, anywhere, using customer-preferred devices

The latest emerging trend in digitalizing financial services is how banks can innovate quickly and at a scale and humanize or put back the human aspect in the digital services

Banks must reimagine how their businesses work and leverage the available new technology to innovate swiftly and at a scale. In addition, to grow and innovate at a scale, building a banking platform by leveraging API technology and partnership with third parties can be an attractive strategy.

While humanizing digital financial services, banks can utilize new technology such as AI, NLP, and big data to provide a proactive, personalized recommendation instead of delivering a standard one fit for all solutions

Banks can leverage those technologies to improve the customer experience and also increase efficiency and cost reduction

The extensive digitalization in the banking industry has also led to the birth of many digital-only or Neobanks which have led the traditional banks to up their digital play to remain relevant with increasingly digital-savvy customers, especially the Gen Z and Millenial segments

For Maybank Indonesia, he declares that the focus is to continue developing the enhancements of digital banking services to deliver a far more superior customer experience, particularly in the spectrum of financial planning through digital wealth, digital liabilities, digital lending, and digital payment. At the same time, more focus is on strengthening the digital platform to facilitate the customers in conducting banking transactions and assist customers in managing their finances virtually. 

Adding Digital Transformation to Strategic Agenda 

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Disruptive Technology For Hackers: The Internet Of Things

Despite its many benefits, the Internet of Things (IoT) is posing a real threat to the cybersecurity of public and private sector systems. This disruptive technology is creeping into workplaces, homes and industrial facilities as technologists deploy monitoring devices, smart controllers and other technologies designed to have an impact on the physical world. The IoT is here to stay, with estimates that deployments will grow to include more than 50 billion Internet-connected devices by 2023.

Hackers are also noting the widespread use of IoT devices, and analysts are beginning to see devices being used as both the target of attacks and a means for attacking traditional systems. Recent reports underscore the significant risk that a software vulnerability in a single category of IoT devices can pose to the physical safety and the cybersecurity of other networked devices. The proliferation of these devices, combined with terrorist interest in undermining them, requires a strong response from agency security teams.

Attacking the IoT

Attackers may decide to directly target a software vulnerability in an IoT device to cause undesirable effects. Forbes reports that hackers have consistently used baby monitors, security cameras, cable boxes and other IoT devices to harass people in their homes. In a troubling report, Wired explained how cybersecurity researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek were able to remotely control a Jeep by hacking the vehicle’s entertainment system over the cellular network.

Placing IoT devices on segmented networks that isolate them from both direct internet access and other devices on the network. Controlling the devices that may communicate with IoT systems, as well as the systems that IoT devices may contact, dramatically reduces the potential for attack.

Implementing strong authentication measures that verify the identities of users and administrators connecting to IoT devices.

Monitoring vendor security bulletins for vulnerability announcements and applying security patches to IoT devices promptly after release. IoT devices must be treated with the same care and attention to configuration management as any other networked device.

Encrypting the communications to and from IoT devices. Data streams and control channels for IoT devices should use encrypted, secure communications channels to prevent eavesdropping.

Agencies that follow these measures will find themselves better positioned to fend off an IoT attack.

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Weaponizing the IoT

The effect of a software vulnerability in commonly used IoT devices can also extend beyond the IoT system itself. On October 21, 2024, the internet suffered one of the largest distributed denial-of-service attacks ever recorded. The attack targeted Dyn, one of the primary Domain Name Service (DNS) providers that serve as a directory for internet sites. This attack on the infrastructure resulted in a massive internet outage that affected major sites including Twitter, the New York Times and Amazon. A Wired magazine analysis of the attack revealed that the attacker likely used a virtual army consisting of compromised cameras, DVRs and other IoT devices to wage the attack.

While the Dyn attack had a widespread effect, future attacks may have an even more significant impact on global affairs. Imagine, for example, an attack that simultaneously knocks all major media sites offline on Election Day or cripples 911 response systems during a major natural disaster. As IoT deployments grow, the record-setting attack against Dyn may pale in comparison to the potential size of future attacks.

Government agencies know the significance of a comprehensive approach to defending against IoT-based attacks. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recognized this as early as 2012 when they issued a call for research proposals focused on defending cyber-physical systems. DARPA’s High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) initiative focuses on protecting IoT devices: “Researchers and hackers have shown that these kinds of networked embedded systems are vulnerable to remote attack and that such attacks can cause physical damage while hiding the effects from monitors,” DARPA says.

As IoT continues its inevitable growth, it’s crucial that cybersecurity professionals consider the impact of this new technology during risk assessments. These assessments should include evaluations of the security of agency IoT deployments, as well as the susceptibility of government systems to attack from botnets of compromised IoT devices.

Samsung’s government technology solutions help agencies provide a secure IoT experience with tools such as the Samsung Knox security platform for mobile devices.

Upward Movements At The School Of Medicine

Upward Movements at the School of Medicine Full professorships to six, two join faculty

Full professorships have been given to six MED faculty members. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Six School of Medicine faculty members, whose areas of expertise range from post-traumatic stress disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, and pediatric development to cardiovascular disease, traumatic brain injuries, and cardiothoracic surgery, have been promoted to the rank of full professor.

“We are delighted to recognize the accomplishments of these exceptional senior faculty,” says Karen Antman, dean of MED and provost of the Medical Campus. “The vigorous promotions process requires national and international recognition of a faculty member’s contributions.”

Antman says faculty promotions are awarded for the quality of both laboratory research and classroom scholarship.

Denise Sloan, formerly an associate professor of psychiatry, has been promoted to full professor. Sloan is researching more efficient ways to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. “We do have effective treatments for PTSD,” she says, “but they are typically quite time-consuming, with at least 12 one-hour sessions, and they require intensive training for therapists.”

Sloan is intrigued by the resilience of some people in the face of a traumatic event, while others develop PTSD. She believes a better understanding of that difference will inform PTSD treatment approaches.

She points to “the limited number of women at this academic rank,” saying she finds mentoring students extremely rewarding. “I have had outstanding mentors throughout my career, and I view mentorship as my chance to give back to the next generation of clinical scientists. I am particularly committed to encouraging more women to pursue academic careers.”

Sloan is the associate director of education, Behavioral Science Division, National Center for PTSD, at the VA Boston Healthcare System. She is the associate editor of Behavior Therapy and is on the editorial boards of five other scientific journals, including, Behaviour Research and Therapy, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and Psychosomatic Medicine. Her research has received funding from several organizations, among them the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Marilyn Augustyn, previously an associate professor of pediatrics, who developed an online training document for Boston Medical Center’s Reach Out and Read program, has been promoted to full professor of pediatrics and division chief of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. Her curriculum, which has won international awards, is the core of a training program offered in multiple venues on DVD and as an online CME course.

Michael E. Charness, chief of staff at the VA Boston Healthcare System, has been promoted to full professor of neurology from associate professor. Charness is an expert on the neurotoxicity of alcohol and has defined some of the molecular changes that occur in fetal alcohol syndrome. He developed the first cell culture models to study alcohol’s effects on neural signaling and demonstrated molecular adaptations associated with chronic alcohol exposure. Charness codeveloped and codirects The Other Side of the Bed, an innovative interdisciplinary training program that allows medical students to work as health techs and nurses aides at the West Roxbury Campus of the VA Boston the summer after their first year. The program has been adopted by other VA-medical school affiliations around the country. Charness is scientific director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Hiran Fernando, a nationally recognized leader in thoracic surgery, has been promoted to full professor of surgery and division chief of cardiothoracic surgery. Fernando, who was formerly an associate professor of surgery, is known for developing new surgical procedures and for leadership in clinical trials and protocol development. His research focuses on minimally invasive CT surgery, including esophagectomy, treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, thermal ablation for lung cancer, and robotic surgery.

In addition to those promoted above, two medical experts have joined the School of Medicine faculty as full professors.

Jeffrey Miller, who comes to BU from the Boston Biomedical Research Institute, is a full professor of neurology and of physiology and biophysics. He and his colleagues hope to develop new therapies for currently untreatable muscle diseases. By identifying the molecular changes that cause the loss of muscle function, and then testing methods to restore those pathways to normal, Miller’s lab focuses on finding novel treatment targets or ways to prevent neuromuscular disorders.

“BU provides an excellent combination of intellectual depth, collaborative environment, and support for research,” he says. “I hope that we will contribute to BU’s research excellence.”

Before joining MED, Miller was an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Hemant Roy is a full professor of gastroenterology as well as chief of the section of gastroenterology at Boston Medical Center. Before coming to BU, Roy was a clinical associate professor at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He is noted for fostering collaboration between basic scientists and clinicians on the development of noninvasive screening tools for gastrointestinal cancer. Roy’s research focuses on cancer risk stratification and prevention using new approaches to cancer screening, such as optical sensing of tissue to detect colon, lung, and ovarian cancers. He recently completed a National Cancer Institute investigator-initiated Phase 2b grant on the ability to predict the outcome of chemoprevention therapy.

Tomorrow BU Today will publish a story about Charles River Campus faculty promoted to full professor.

Kira Jastive can be reached at [email protected].

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5 Reasons Your Business Needs A Virtual Receptionist

A virtual receptionist, also known as a live receptionist, does more than just answer calls. Virtual receptionist companies offer a variety of services that can improve your business’s ability to manage incoming calls from customers, adding a layer of professionalism to your consumer-facing communications. If you’re considering a virtual receptionist, you should be aware of the benefits one could extend to your business.

Is a virtual receptionist right for you? Here’s what you should consider.

What is a virtual receptionist?

A virtual receptionist serves the same role as an in-house receptionist, such as answering phone calls, taking messages and setting appointments. The difference is that a virtual receptionist is located at a call center facility or other remote location.

“These services allow small businesses to have a receptionist give personalized attention to small or variable call volumes without requiring the business to hire, train and manage a full-time employee, along with all the added expenses and burdens,” said Jason Junge, CEO of PointerTop.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right answering service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

5 reasons to use a virtual receptionist

Virtual receptionists and answering services can be a huge benefit to your business when you select your partner carefully.

“The main thing you should look for when implementing a virtual answering service is, does it solve your current front-desk phone problems?” said James Harper, founder of AgencyFlare. “Where many small businesses fail is they don’t truly look to see if the virtual answering service can be customized to their phone challenges and needs. You should only implement a service like this if it’s solving a problem. It shouldn’t create more work for your front desk.”

If you’re considering using a virtual receptionist for your business, here are five benefits an answering service should be able to offer you.

1. Free up internal resources

Many small business owners and their employees wear multiple hats, and manning the phone lines can take away from other important tasks. Outsourcing your calls to a virtual receptionist takes the burden of customer service off your in-house team and places the responsibility with an agent trained in boosting customer satisfaction.

2. Improve customer experience

A good virtual receptionist guarantees that your customers’ calls will be answered promptly and handled with professionalism and care. Virtual receptionists are trained customer service professionals who understand the right way to represent your brand. The right answering service can have a positive impact on overall customer experience and, ideally, boost your retention rates.

3. Offer after-hours support

When your small business closes for the day or weekend, who is there to answer your phones? With a virtual receptionist, your callers will still feel as though they are being taken care of, and their messages will be available to you when you open your doors the next morning. If your virtual receptionist can answer common questions on your behalf, your callers might even have their issues resolved then and there. Expanding your customer service hours is yet another way to boost customer satisfaction.

4. Streamline appointment schedules

Setting appointments can be a tedious process, especially if multiple staff members are handling it in multiple systems. Passing off the task to a virtual receptionist unifies the appointment-setting process and keeps every stakeholder up to date with automatic notifications and shared calendars. Some virtual receptionists can even deliver appointment reminders to reduce no-shows and last-minute cancellations.

5. Appear more professional

Maintaining a receptionist gives an appearance of prestige to your business. When a receptionist answers the phone on your behalf, it signals to customers that your business is a formal organization with a refined workflow. In other words, a virtual receptionist can reinforce your brand as a professional business with great customer service.

How does a virtual receptionist work?

Outsourcing to a virtual receptionist allows a business to manage inbound calls in a professional way without requiring in-house staff to stop what they are doing to man the phone lines. Instead, a virtual receptionist will handle inbound calls based on the needs of your business.

“The virtual answering service will answer all of your calls for you,” said Shayne Sherman, CEO of TechLoris. “You will work with the service to determine the script for the representatives to follow so that it’s pertinent to your business. Important calls will be forwarded to you, and messages and prospects will be compiled and sent to you to distribute to your sales team.”

For example, if you know certain types of calls can wait for a response, a live receptionist could be instructed to take down a message and send it along to the relevant parties to address at a later time. If you want certain types of calls to be forwarded to you immediately, a virtual receptionist can be instructed to patch them through. Some virtual receptionists can even answer common questions on your behalf, depending on the sophistication of the service you choose.

The best virtual receptionists are flexible and adaptable to your business needs. They should understand your business well enough to field incoming calls with the knowledge and professionalism to boost customer satisfaction. They should also be willing and able to pivot services as your business’s needs change.

What is the average virtual receptionist pricing?

The precise cost of a virtual receptionist depends on the service you choose and its pricing model. These are the most common pricing models:

Per-minute rate: A per-minute rate is often based on your selection of services and call volume. You’ll be charged the nominal rate based on your monthly call volume and how much time a virtual receptionist is connected with customers on your behalf.

Monthly subscription: Some answering services offer monthly subscriptions, which include a prepaid package of minutes to be used as needed. Generally, these minutes do not expire, though that depends on the terms of the agreement you sign with an individual service. Commonly, there are monthly minimums that specify how many minutes you must use to keep your account active.

Pricing tiers: Other answering services offer tiered pricing, allowing you to prepay for only the services you need. If you just want a simple automated menu to direct customer calls to in-house staff, for example, you might choose a lower tier. More sophisticated services, such as a live agent who can respond to frequently asked questions, might be available at a more expensive tier.

Rates vary by the complexity of services and your business’s expected call volume. Typical per-minute rates range from about 75 to 95 cents.

The answering service industry is known for including fees and behind-the-scenes upcharges, so you should thoroughly examine any agreement before signing. For example, some services charge for what is known as agent work time. This refers to time an agent is not actually on the phone but still performing work related to your account, and it can greatly inflate your monthly bill.

Another common upcharge is incremental billing, which is when companies round your minutes to the nearest increment. A standard increment is the nearest sixth second of a call, but some companies round up by as much as the nearest minute. Incremental billing can also significantly inflate your monthly bill, even though the nominal per-minute rate might seem inexpensive.

To avoid surprises on your bill, request a black-and-white breakdown of every fee and cost that you could incur during the life of your agreement with any answering service or virtual receptionist. A reputable company will be more than happy to provide you that information.

What features are most important in a virtual receptionist service?

The features available from a virtual receptionist depend on the individual answering service you partner with and your specific needs, but here are some of the most important features a virtual receptionist offers.           

Auto attendant: Generally simpler and less expensive than a live virtual receptionist, auto attendants and interactive voice response (IVR) trees can direct callers to the right place the first time. An auto attendant reduces the burden on your internal resources to direct call after call, as well as improving customer satisfaction by helping them resolve their inquiries quickly and easily.

Live answering: Virtual receptionists can give your customers a real person to answer the phones on your behalf, adding a layer of professionalism and personal touch to your customer service. Live receptionist services allow you to customize the greeting agents use when answering calls and to determine how agents should handle each type of call you expect to receive.

Message taking: One of the most basic virtual receptionist services is taking messages, which involves recording caller information and the reason they are calling. Messages can then be passed to the relevant parties you’ve specified.

Patching and call transfer: Virtual receptionists can patch calls directly to the relevant phone number, which you can specify in your agreement with the answering service. Transferring callers who need immediate assistance to your staff members streamlines the answering process and resolves customer inquiries more quickly. 

Appointment scheduling: Many virtual receptionists can integrate your preferred calendar application to schedule appointments on your behalf. You can specify times and locations at which your business is available for appointments, and the virtual receptionist will handle the rest, alerting you when new appointments are added to your calendar.

FAQs: Some virtual receptionists will maintain a list of answers to frequently asked questions about your business so they can help callers who just have common questions. If you provide this list to the answering service, it can reduce the call transfers or messages delivered to your in-house staff.

Response time: It’s important to understand how quickly your customers’ calls will be answered. Some virtual receptionists guarantee a call will be answered before the third ring, for example. Make sure your customers won’t be left waiting. 

Hours of availability: Many answering services offer 24/7 availability, which is important if you want to offer your customers a point of contact after business hours.

When choosing a virtual receptionist or answering service, small businesses should also ask about the organization’s internal processes, including how it hires its staff, said Shawn Breyer, owner of Atlanta House Buyers.

“Make sure that the company you are vetting trains its employees initially and ongoing,” he said. “Ask them to explain their training process in depth with examples. Most times, this individual that you are hiring is the front line for your company. They will be the first impression that your customers have of your company. Nailing this with well-trained individuals will set you up for success, while untrained people will lose you customers and money.” 

Also see how involved you can be in the evolution of how the agents answer the phones on your behalf. You should be able to be an active participant in the way they handle your account, Breyer added.

“It’s easy to think that, since you are hiring out a virtual phone service, you can wash your hands of developing and training that role,” he said. “If you want the money you spend on the virtual phone service to be an investment versus an expense, take responsibility, and spend time training and giving feedback to the person who is taking calls.”   

A virtual receptionist streamlines customer service communications

There is a wide range of reasons you might want to hire virtual receptionists. At their simplest, they offer automated menus to properly direct your customers’ calls. At the more sophisticated end, virtual receptionists answer customer questions and set appointments on behalf of your business. Ultimately, a virtual receptionist serves to streamline your customer service communications and bring an element of professionalism to your brand without costing as much as a full-time, in-house receptionist.

Virtual receptionists to consider

If you are looking for reputable virtual receptionist companies, you should certainly consider the following companies:

Best Pick for Virtual Receptionist

Specialty Answering Services: Founded in 1985, Specialty Answering Service is a call center outsourcing firm that is based in Prussia, Pennsylvania. With a team of 30 employees and a national network of freelance customer support specialists, they provide customer support and non-voice business process outsourcing.

Additional virtual receptionists to consider

According to The Manifest, other top virtual receptionists include:

Nexa: Nexa is a virtual receptionist company that is based in Phoenix. They have a team of over 440 people and focus primarily on voice services.

chúng tôi : Another virtual receptionist company is chúng tôi which is located in Palo Alto, California. Founded in 2024, Smith AI has a staff of over 100 employees. They specialize in website chat, live calls, and working with companies in industries such as law, finance, hospitality, e-commerce, healthcare, and real estate.

Ruby Receptionist: A voice services firm that is based in Portland, Oregon, Ruby Receptionists has a team of over 250 employees. They specialize in voice call support, conventional answering services and appointment management.

Back Office Betties: Founded in 2014, Back Office Betties is a virtual receptionist company that is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. They have 13 employees and specialize in providing receptionist work and voice services for small businesses and law firms.

Unity Communications: Founded in 2009, Unity Communications is a BPO company that is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, and also has offices in offices in Global City, Philippines; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and San Jose, Costa Rica. They mostly provide non-BPO and back-office services; they also provide IT strategy consulting, cloud consulting, and SI.

Abby Connect Receptionists: A virtual receptionist firm that is stationed in Las Vegas, Abby Connect Receptionists employs a team of 40+ employees. They specialize in helping companies in finance, law and the business services industries.

MoneyPenny: A communications outsourcing firm based in Charleston, South Carolina, MoneyPenny was founded in 2000. They have a team of 750 employees and offer a wide range of services such as switchboard, answering services and customer support.

What Is The Full Form Of At T

AT&T

AT&T stands for American Telephone & Telegraph Company is a telecommunications firm that offers businesses and customers all around the world voice, video, data, and internet services.

Alexander Graham Bell, the creator of the telephone, established the business in 1885 under the name American Telephone and Telegraph Company.

Over time, AT&T has transformed from a provider of telephone services into a diversified telecommunications business offering a variety of goods and services. Mobile phone services, home phone services, high-speed internet, digital TV, and IP-based services for enterprises are some of its main offers.

A publicly traded firm, AT&T is denoted by the ticker “T” on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It is a major player in the telecommunications sector thanks to its lengthy history and solid reputation for innovation.

History and Evolution of AT&T

AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph Company) was founded in 1885 as the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, and grew to become the largest telephone company in the world by the mid-20th century. The company played a key role in the development of telecommunications, including the establishment of a national telephone network, the introduction of long-distance service, and the development of mobile telephony.

In the 1980s, AT&T was broken up into smaller companies due to antitrust violations, and the company has since evolved to become a major player in the telecommunications and media industries, with a diverse portfolio of businesses including wireless services, broadband, and entertainment content.

Key Milestone and Achievement of AT&T

Introduction of long-distance telephone service − In the early days of AT&T, the company introduced long-distance telephone service between major cities in the United States, connecting people across the country for the first time.

Establishment of Bell Labs − Bell Labs, established in the 1920s, became one of the most prominent research centers in the world and made numerous groundbreaking discoveries and inventions, including the transistor and the laser.

Launch of the first commercial mobile telephone service − In 1949, AT&T introduced the first commercial mobile telephone service, allowing customers to make calls from their cars. This technology paved the way for the modern mobile phone industry.

Breakup of the AT&T monopoly − In 1984, the US government ordered AT&T to divest itself of its regional telephone companies, resulting in the creation of seven independent regional “Baby Bell” companies. This breakup opened up the telecommunications industry to greater competition.

Launch of the iPhone − In 2007, AT&T became the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the United States, which was a major boost to the company’s mobile business.

Acquisition of WarnerMedia − In 2023, AT&T acquired Time Warner Inc. (now known as WarnerMedia), which includes popular media brands such as HBO, CNN, and Warner Bros. This acquisition positioned AT&T as a major player in the media and entertainment industry.

AT&T’s Role in Development of Telecommunication

AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph Company) played a significant role in the development of telecommunications over the past century. Here are some of the key contributions the company made−

Development of the telephone − Alexander Graham Bell, the man who created the telephone, formed AT&T’s predecessor firm, the Bell Telephone Company. Throughout the development and dissemination of telephone technology across the United States, AT&T was a significant player.

Establishment of a national telephone network − AT&T created a national telephone network that connected major cities across the United States, making it possible for people to communicate with each other across long distances.

Introduction of long-distance service − AT&T introduced long-distance telephone service between major cities in the United States, which enabled people to communicate over even longer distances.

Establishment of Bell Labs − Bell Labs, established by AT&T in the 1920s, became one of the world’s most prominent research centers and was responsible for numerous breakthroughs in telecommunications technology, including the invention of the transistor, which revolutionized electronics.

Development of the internet − AT&T played a significant role in the development of the internet, providing early internet backbone services and playing a key role in the development of the Domain Name System (DNS).

Controversy and criticism of AT&T

AT&T has faced a number of controversies and criticisms over the years. Here are some of the most notable ones −

Monopoly and antitrust violations − In the early 20th century, AT&T gained a monopoly over the telephone industry in the United States, which it maintained for decades. The company was eventually broken up into smaller companies in the 1980s as a result of antitrust violations.

Privacy concerns − AT&T has faced criticism over its handling of customer data and privacy. In 2006, it was revealed that the company was collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor customers’ phone and internet activity, leading to concerns about government surveillance.

Network quality and reliability − AT&T has faced criticism over the quality and reliability of its network, particularly in rural areas. Some customers have reported slow data speeds and dropped calls, while others have complained about poor customer service.

Conclusion

AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph Company) has played a major role in the development of telecommunications over the past century, from the early days of telephone technology to the modern era of mobile phones and the internet. The company has achieved numerous milestones and accomplishments, including the establishment of a national telephone network, the development of mobile telephony, and the creation of Bell Labs, one of the world’s most prominent research centers.

FAQs

Q1. Has AT&T been involved in any major mergers or acquisitions?

Ans. Indeed, AT&T has taken part in a number of significant mergers and acquisitions throughout the years, most notably the purchase of Time Warner in 2023.

Q2. Has AT&T ever faced privacy concerns?

Ans. Yes, AT&T has faced privacy concerns, including accusations of collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor customer data.

Q3. What is the current status of AT&T?

Ans. As of March 2023, AT&T remains a major player in the telecommunications and media industries, with a diverse portfolio of businesses and a focus on expanding its 5G wireless network and streaming content offerings.

Merging Ai And Hpc To Begin A New Era Of Tech At Space Discoveries

Huerta’s innovation will help observe the cosmos more clearly at space

Black holes are always a hot topic among astronauts. One of the reasons behind it is that black holes are unpredictable and far away, making researchers wonder what they can do. However, in recent years, 

Huerto’s initiative to merge AI and high-performance computing (HPC) Discovering black holes using disruptive technology 

Recently, astronomers announced that they had detected a massive 

Having a binocular view at black hole spin

Huerta and two of his students created a more sophisticated neural network that can detect the motion of two colliding black hole’s spin. The AI model accurately measured the faint signals of a small black hole merging with a larger one.

Black holes are always a hot topic among astronauts. One of the reasons behind it is that black holes are unpredictable and far away, making researchers wonder what they can do. However, in recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) features have helped scientists figure out answers using technology for their confusion. Since the discovery of phosphine gas in the clouds of Venus , the planet that is incapable of housing living beings because of its high temperature, the intensity of expectation on space has widened drastically. Scientists are looking at new possibilities in the expanded no ending topic. The ancient stories of aliens coming to earth in weird space vehicles are still attractive to everyone. Henceforth, AI is aiding researchers to zoom in more at the vast black space. Their focus is heavily on black holes that never seem to conclude. Black holes are points in space that are so dense to create deep gravity sinks. They even resist light to pass through its surface. Anything that goes too near the black hole, whether it is a star, planet, or spacecraft, will be stretched and compressed like putty in a theoretical process aptly known as spaghettification. If humans go into black holes, they are predicted to be shattered into pieces. Albert Einstein first predicted the existence of black holes in 1916 with his theory of relativity. Almost after five decades, black holes got its name. Since then, scientists and researchers are looking at ways to deepen their research on black holes. The new trending way to learn about black holes is by suing the technological features of artificial intelligence. It is not just black holes unraveled by AI; other space-related topics are also interconnecting with AI for better discovery. Eliu Huerta is a scientist from the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications and Department of Astronomy, University of Illinois. He has merged AI and high-performance computing (HPC) to observe the cosmos more clearly at space. For several years, astrophysics researchers used data to detect signals produced by collisions of black holes ad neutron stars. Huerta’s research, if succeeded, will be a breakthrough to the space discoveries. It is expected to answer a thousand unanswered and prolonged questions. However, the debates on space-time fabric ended in 2024 when researchers observed the gravitational waves for the first time. They used pattern-matching techniques on data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), home to some of the most sensitive instruments in science.Recently, astronomers announced that they had detected a massive collision of two black holes ever discovered. The clash is expected to have happened seven billion years ago, leaving only the late signs to humans. The cataclysmic event offered researchers a front-row seat to the birth of one of the Universe’s most elusive objects. A team of researchers in 2023 used an AI bot named ‘ClaRAN’ that scans images taken by radio telescopes, which could spot the galaxies that emit powerful radio jets from supermassive black holes at their centers. It was then discovered by data specialist Dr. Cheu Wu and astrologer Dr. Ivy Wong from the University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR). Ultimately, the new technology to discover space-related information in the trending 2023 is supercomputers that process the data that instruments gather in a single day. In 2023, Huerta’s team showed how a deep neural network running on an NVIDIA GPU could find gravitational waves with the same accuracy in a fraction of the time. The AI model Huerta used was based on data from tens of thousands of waveforms. He trained it on a single NVIDIA GPU in less than three hours.Huerta and two of his students created a more sophisticated neural network that can detect the motion of two colliding black hole’s spin. The AI model accurately measured the faint signals of a small black hole merging with a larger one. The trio used an IBM POWER9-based system with 64 NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPUs that took 12 hours to train the resulting neural network with a requirement of 1.5 million waveforms. To further the process, the Huerto team got access to 1,536 V100 GPUs on 256 nodes of the IBM AC922 Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. By making a connection between Summit’s GPUs and its IBM POWER9CPUs, they trained the model in 1.2 hours. This is quite an achievement in the evolving outer space stories. The result was published in ‘ A paper in Physics Letters B .’ It showed the combination of AI and HPC, which solved challenges in astrophysics. The innovation is marking a milestone in Artificial Intelligence’s extensive features and its functions on space-related topics. Both space and AI are something that induces curiosity. It will be interesting to see the emerging discoveries from space and AI gadgets or technologies that feature the discoveries.

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