We have all used voice response technology before in which you give a command and a virtual assistant responds – think of Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana. They are present in millions of households worldwide and can be extremely useful for completing tasks throughout the day.  But what is conversational AI?

What is Conversational AI?

Conversational AI is precisely what the name implies – technology that can have a conversation with its user. This tech is configured to recognize human speech and text, understand meaning, and respond in a way that imitates human conversation. This is done using various advanced dialogue management technologies such as Automatic Speech Recognition, Natural Language Processing, Advanced Dialogue Management, Machine Learning, and Noise Cancelling AI. Conversational AI studies human conversation and language processing to mimic speech and make the user feel like they are merely talking to another person.

Conversational AI also studies speech fluctuation to make the technology less monotone and more human-like. Studies show that speech fluctuation is one of the simplest ways people express emotion and create meaning in their phrasing. This is exactly what developers want conversational AI to imitate. When technology conveys emotion and meaning, the user feels more comfortable conversing with it.

Benefits of Conversational AI

Thinking about adding a device that uses AI to your business?

Here are the five biggest benefits of conversational AI-

1. Accuracy

One of the biggest benefits of conversational AI is the increased accuracy it can offer. Innovations like conversational ordering kiosks make food ordering quick and simple for all customers.

When customers can input their order directly into the kiosk, the order goes directly to the kitchen – there’s less opportunity for human error and customers feel more in control of their experience. This software can even have a conversation with the customer, analyzing their voice and emotional state and recording their feedback.

Conversational AI in self-ordering kiosks isn’t meant to compete with major virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri that offer general assistance – instead, it’s specifically designed to handle food orders with greater accuracy and efficiency while staying simple for the customer to use.

Conversational AI also offers information accuracy. Instead of relying on employees to memorize long menus and extensive allergen lists and nutritional information, conversational AI can conveniently store and access this information.

Specials can be input and advertised by conversational AI without having to rely on employees to remember rotating menu options.

Customers with specific dietary needs or concerns can even voice these concerns to the conversational AI and hear back about a menu item quickly, instead of an employee having to run back to look through a binder of menu item allergens.

2. Efficiency

Since orders are sent directly from the point of sale to the kitchen, prep time is cut down enormously with AI technology.

AI POS systems can even integrate conversational AI technology into mobile and phone ordering systems. Much like conversational ordering kiosks, conversational AI POS systems help ensure greater accuracy and time efficiency.

This tech can be applied to web and social media platforms as well, with the AI POS technology taking online orders and delivering them to the kitchen directly, without taking time away from employees or allowing room for human error.

Stock can even be quickly input and updated, which means no more runs to and from a table to ask if swiss is okay since cheddar is out.

With labor markets stretched especially thin throughout the pandemic, POS systems applying conversational AI take some of the burdens off of the employee and help avoid employee burnout.

By cutting down on human labor needed, employees spend less time on repetitive tasks or customer interactions and more on individually-tailored customer satisfaction. These efficiency gains mean employees are more supported and customers are more satisfied (and more likely to come back!).

3. Contactless Customer Experience

A shrinking labor market isn’t the only impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; now more than ever, customers crave a contactless ordering experience in order to maximize safety. With restaurant employees interacting with upwards of hundreds of customers per day, their health is also at risk in a traditional face-to-face service model.

Conversational AI is ready to step in and help create physical distance between customers and employees, meaning greater health safety for all involved. Kiosks and POS tablets that leverage conversational AI tech also have easy-to-clean surfaces to further minimize the spread of germs and keep everyone happy and healthy. This technology ensures that safe, socially distant interactions don’t have to be any less customized and friendly.

4. Upsell Opportunities

Conversational AI can also offer consistent and convincing upsell opportunities. Instead of relying on an employee to remember to offer an upsell and choose the most convincing option, conversational AI can take into account consumer preferences, weather, and more in order to offer the best upsell possible.

The data speaks for itself here – Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard in Denver implemented conversational AI tech from Valyant AI and saw a 6% average increase in spending per order. This number was even upwards of 23% some days! Customers tend to accept upsells offered to them, and conversational AI ensures they will have a chance to do so.

5. Better Customer Experience

Conversational AI and self-ordering kiosks can even track and store customer feedback and satisfaction, providing you with real-life analytics about how your menu items are performing and how your restaurant is perceived.

As we see below in the responses to AI Multiple’s study on the benefits of chatbots that leverage conversational AI, consumers are already excited about the benefits of conversational AI.

Fully integrated conversational AI POS systems will address this excitement even more extensively than chatbots and fill the need for fast and friendly service in the restaurant industry, all the while providing data feedback to help you continually improve the customer experience.

6. Reduction in Operating Costs

With all the functionality AI can offer at just the initial fixed cost of the software, operating costs can be slashed. Ordering, stock tracking, and feedback analytics can all be handled by conversational AI technology.

Instead of paying multiple employees to complete these tasks that may need to take time off or sick days and could burn out or introduce human error, conversational AI is always able to handle these tasks at no extra cost.

By investing in this technology, you can save on labor costs and instead pay fewer support employees fair wages without being stretched to support a large staff.

Takeaways

Now that we’ve asked and answered ‘what is conversational AI?’ and ‘why is it important?’, you may be wondering how to apply this technology and create a conversational AI restaurant.

This is where GRUBBRR comes in; GRUBBRR has a comprehensive offering of automated commerce solutions like self-ordering kiosks, AI POS systems, and menu display boards. These offerings can be tailored to restaurant-specific needs and leverage conversational AI to ensure higher profits, less employee burnout, and a better (and contactless!) customer experience.

As technology becomes more advanced and intelligent, people need to trust artificial intelligence to assist in their day-to-day tasks. Developing technology that mimics human conversation is the first step toward creating technology that will make everyone’s lives efficient and easy.