How to Setup an AI Phone Answering System For Your Business - Full Guide

July 10, 2024


If you’re a business or an agency that wants to set up an ai phone answering system for your business this is an article for you. AI phone answering systems are becoming more and more popular and trending these days. Not many businesses are yet using them to its full capacity and that might be because they are a bit more complicated to set up and configure and for most businesses it can be painful to do everything on their own which is why I figured it would be the best to create a simple guide on how to set up an ai phone answering system for your business whether you have a local or online business, it doesn’t matter since AI phone calling will save you a lot of time and money in the back end. Let’s break down how to set everything up.

Tools That We Need

For this guide we will need a couple of softwares and tools in order to set everything up and configure this ai phone answering system. Keep in mind that some of these softwares will cost you some money, however you can sign up for free trials with our links throughout this article. The softwares and tools that we will use are: 

  • Voiceflow - we will use this tool for creating an AI chatbot and provide it with human-like voice and behaviour as well as create a knowledge base that this chatbot can use to extract the needed information from.
  • Replit - to host the code and to create functionality for the assistant.
  • Twilio - to set up a phone number and to be able to receive phone calls to our ai chatbot.

We will go over each tool step by step with screenshots provided below each step to ensure that you’re not missing any steps along the way. For this you will need to understand a few technical things such as setting up the bot and using all of these tools, however I will try to make it easier for you so let’s get started.

Voiceflow AI Chatbot Setup

The first tool that we will be using is Voiceflow. This will be a tool that we will use to create an ai chatbot and provide it with human-like voice and behaviour to make sure that it’s working correctly. You can sign up to Voiceflow with our link here to get a free trial access. Keep in mind that in order for this to work long term you will need to opt in for a specific plan in Voiceflow.

Step 1: Creating an Assistant

Voiceflow Dashboard

Once you sign up to Voiceflow simply go to “New Agent” in the upper right corner. This will open up a box that says “Create an agent”. An agent is simply an AI chatbot. Here you will need to adjust few things:

  • Name (just enter a name that you want, e.g. Voice Assistant)
  • Modality (select “chat”)
  • Language (select “english)

From there simply click on the blue button that says “create assistant” and it will lead you to the next step.

Step 2: Setting Up The Automation

Voiceflow Bot Configuration

You will land on this page. It looks like a lot but don’t worry, you need to select everything except the green button “start” and hit delete on your keyboard. This will delete everything except start which is exactly what we want.

Step 2: Creating a Knowledge Base

Voiceflow Back Button

From here just click the backwards button which will lead you to the next page.

Voiceflow Knowledge Base

Here on the next page click on “Knowledge Base” on the left and then simply click on the add data source which is the blue button in the middle.

Voiceflow Knowledge Base Configuration

Now you can choose where you want to pull your knowledge base from. A knowledge base is basically a set of information that your AI chatbot will use to program itself. AI chatbot will use all the necessary information about your company and business from this knowledge base.

There are a few ways to add data source:

  • Plain text (this would be like adding a prompt for the bot)
  • Upload file (text file or csv file with all the data from your business)
  • URLs (you can use your website and Voiceflow will crawl your website for information)
  • Sitemap (similar to URLs, it will crawl the data on your entire site)
  • Integration (import data from external platforms such as Zendesk for example)

For this guide we will use the “plain text” option as it will provide us with the easiest setup and configuration. So let’s pick plain text. For this we can use chat gpt in the next step to provide us with the knowledge base for our business.

Step 3: Using ChatGPT For Knowledge Base

ChatGPT Prompt for Generating Knowledge Base

As you can see we prompted ChatGPT to provide us with the knowledge base for our company Fuel Your Digital. You can use your website here and copy our exact prompt to get the same output for yourself. Now that we have that we can copy this knowledge base and paste it into our “plain text” box in Voiceflow.

Importing Knowledge Base in Voiceflow

Once you’re done simply click on the blue button “import” and that will successfully add the knowledge base into your Voiceflow account.

Step 4: Configuring Knowledge Base Settings

Voiceflow Knowledge Base Settings 

From here simply click on “settings” or gear icon and you will be able to set up the model, temperature, max tokens, chunk limit and system option as well. Here you can adjust the temperature how you want, the more the temperature is the more unique the answer will be.

Next up is the “system” box. Here make sure to write about what kind of persona your AI chatbot should play. Is your AI chatbot going to be an AI assistant or support assistant or something else? Your result and chatbot will act based on the system input so make sure to write something unique that your chatbot will be in charge of. You can also use ChatGPT for this as well.

Replit Code & Functionality Setup

Second tool that we have to configure after Voiceflow is called Replit. This is a tool for building softwares and adding functionality to your AI chatbot. This part of the setup is a little bit complicated but if you follow along you will learn exactly how to set up this second part of the puzzle. So let’s break it down.

Step 1: Adding an API Key in Replit

Replit Template

First thing that we will do after signing up to Replit is to use a free Replit template that Bogdan from Bo Sar YouTube channel provided for free to everyone. This is a great template because you already get pretty much everything you need to get started with Replit and to later on integrate it with Voiceflow. You can import the template by simply clicking on this link here.

Replit Template Use

From here simply go to the green button in the right corner that says “use template” and rename the template to whatever name you want. Once done simply click on “use template” and that’s it for this step.

Replit Configure Secrets

Once you do all of that you will be redirected to this page. Yes this looks messy but all you have to do is to go to the left side menu and find “secrets”. Click on that and on the right side you will see two values that say “key” and “value”. From here simply add a Voiceflow API key inside the “value” box. This is the most important step, if you don’t do this, the system simply won’t work.

Voiceflow API Key

Go back to Voiceflow and click on the left side an icon that says “integration”. From here you will see an API key that you can just simply copy and paste into the Replit in the “value” section and click the “add secret” button.

Step 2: Configuring The Code

Replit Prompt

Now go to the left menu and click on “src” then “ivr” folder and then “handler.js” folder to open up a text in the middle. This text is your prompt. Feel free to change it so that it matches what you want to do with your ai chatbot.

Replit First Line Change

Also if you scroll down you will be able to see the first line that the bot will say. This can also be changed, it’s totally up to you. Once you do that simply hit “run” button and “stop” just to update the code so that everything runs smoothly. That’s all for now in terms of the set up for Replit, now we need to go and create an account on Twilio. 

Twilio Setup

The third and the last software and tool that we need to set up is Twilio. This is a software that we will use to purchase a phone number and to be able to call others with our AI answering system. This is the last step in this entire process. First thing you need to do is to open a Twilio account.

Step 1: Purchasing Phone Number

Purchasing Phone Numbers in Twilio

Once you’re in Twilio click on “Phone numbers” on the side and click on “manage” and under manage you can buy a new number. Here you can simply purchase a number for $1+ which is a monthly fee associated with the number. 

Once you have an active number click on the active numbers under the “phone numbers” section in the left menu and click on the phone number you’ve just purchased, you will land on the configuration settings for that number.

Step 2: Configuring The Number

Twilio Phone Number URL Change

Now the only change you need to do is to copy the Replit URL and paste it in the “url” section on Twilio and add /ivr/launch at the end of that code in Twilio. To find that code in Replit you will need to run the code in Replit, click on Webview, click on the green link, there you can simply copy the green link.

Once you copy that code in Twilio, scroll down and click “save configuration”. Now you can simply call this Twilio number with your own phone number to test it out. Make sure to purchase a Twilio account to make sure that this is working properly otherwise the calls to that phone number will not work. 

Additionally if you are not satisfied with AI assistant answers try to modify and configure the knowledge base and persona instructions in Voiceflow until you get the right answers.

Final Thoughts

Setting up an AI phone answering system for your business using Voiceflow, Replit, and Twilio has been an incredible experience for me. At first, I was overwhelmed by the technical aspects, but breaking it down step-by-step made it manageable. Voiceflow made designing the conversation flow straightforward, Replit allowed me to write and test my code easily, and Twilio handled the phone service seamlessly. If you’re looking to automate your business calls, I highly recommend giving this setup a try—it’s a game-changer.