April 10, 2023

Aligning organizational goals and customer needs to maximize your restaurant's Conversational AI solutions in 2023

Revolutionize your restaurant with Conversational AI: align goals and customer needs for success in 2023

"Unleash the full potential of conversational AI for your restaurant by understanding your business goals and customers' needs, paving the way for exceptional experiences and optimized operations."

In this article, we'll delve into how understanding your business goals and customers' needs can help you maximize the potential of conversational AI and voice technology in your restaurant. We'll also explore the discovery process, research methodologies, and analysis, empowering you to create tailored solutions that yield real results for your unique challenges. So, whether you're looking to optimize order management, improve menu navigation, or offer personalized recommendations, we've got you covered.

Introduction: Aligning organizational goals and customer needs

The power of Conversational AI in the restaurant industry

Did you know that 65% of people in the United States consider checking the order status and tracking the location of their food delivery as the top tasks they would use Voice technology for1? As a restaurant operator, staying ahead of the curve with cutting-edge solutions like Conversational AI and Voice assistants can be your game-changer. Embracing these technologies can enhance your restaurant's customer experience, streamline operations, drive efficiency, and boost revenue in today's fiercely competitive landscape.

Understanding Conversational AI

Voice assistants, chatbots, and IVRs: enhancing customer experience

Conversational AI encompasses technologies that enable computers to communicate with humans naturally. Voice assistants, chatbots, and IVRs are conversational AI tools that can significantly elevate your restaurant's customer experience. Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, or Google Assistant can respond to voice commands and execute tasks such as food ordering via your mobile app. Meanwhile, chatbots can interact with customers through messaging apps or websites to answer questions about menu items, ingredients, location, and hours of operation or even assist with placing orders. IVRs use pre-recorded voice prompts and menus to help customers navigate phone-based ordering systems.

The role of platforms like Voicify in implementing AI solutions

Platforms like Voicify simplify the implementation of conversational AI solutions across multiple touchpoints, including mobile apps, websites, phone ordering, kiosks, Amazon Alexa, and drive-throughs. It is now possible to create a single, unified experience that can be deployed across your omnichannel ecosystem instead of building multiple versions of the same solution. This also gives you the benefit of seeing the usage data on how your customers engage with these experiences in multiple channels, giving you a unified view of your customer’s behavior, word choices, and menu preferences. All of this information can be used in future phases to inform personalized menu recommendations and promotional opportunities.  

The importance of discovery for Conversational AI projects

Aligning business goals and customer needs

During discussions with various organizations, we frequently encounter questions about the perfect applications for conversational AI or Voice technology within a specific sector. Ultimately, it depends on the organization's objectives and the audience’s needs. As tech enthusiasts, we often want to create a solution swiftly, launch it to the market, and subsequently learn from its real-world performance. A streamlined yet thorough discovery process can help fast-track this journey, ensuring that you develop a solution catering to your organization and its customers' needs practically and effectively before the first line of code is written.

The discovery process is an essential yet often overlooked step in developing successful conversational AI or Voice projects. At its core, discovery is about deeply understanding your business goals and customer needs. Organizations can pinpoint the most pressing needs through research methodologies and analysis and develop solutions to address them. This is particularly crucial for conversational AI and Voice projects, which focus on creating intuitive, efficient, and effective solutions.

Benefits of a thorough discovery process

One key benefit of the discovery process is identifying areas within the customer experience that can benefit most from conversational AI solutions. This enables organizations to prioritize their roadmap, focusing first on the needs of their core audience and enhancing the experience over time as they learn how customers engage with the solution. For example, by talking to customers, you may discover they have questions about the menu that must be addressed before placing an order. With this information, you can create a conversational experience that answers these questions before shifting focus to tasks such as product ordering and tracking. Additional benefits include: 

Conducting an effective discovery process for Conversational AI projects

Steps to streamline the discovery phase

Some people believe that the discovery phase is a lengthy, tedious, and costly process that doesn't yield significant outcomes. As our CEO Susan often says, a strategy that can't be implemented effectively has little value. We’ve spent years fine-tuning our discovery process, ensuring we conduct the right research and engage with the appropriate internal stakeholders. We also analyze industry benchmarks and key performance indicators to guarantee an efficient discovery process, enabling a robust strategy as the foundation for developing conversational AI solutions.

Engaging with stakeholders and customers for valuable insights

No matter how often we go through the process, it's always astounding to witness the valuable insights we discover by engaging with restaurant operators, staff, and customers. Recently, we worked on a project where a restaurant chain had deployed a conversational AI solution but couldn't understand why their patrons weren't utilizing it. As we began discussing with the team members, it became evident that they needed training and governance support to maintain the solution effectively. Due to this initial oversight, the solution was still functioning as it had during its initial proof of concept launch, and there had been no updates to improve it. By identifying this internal challenge, we developed a plan to establish a governance model and properly train the restaurant staff responsible for maintaining the AI system, ensuring its continued success and customer adoption.

Steps to follow for an effective discovery process for your Conversational AI project

Several steps we follow to carry out an efficient discovery process for Conversational AI and Voice projects in the restaurant industry are:

  1. Identify key stakeholders and project objectives
  2. Engage with stakeholders outside the project to uncover organizational challenges
  3. Conduct customer research to understand their needs and pain points
  4. Speak with customer-facing staff if direct customer interaction isn't possible
  5. Analyze existing data and customer feedback to identify areas for improvement
  6. Study competitors' strategies to better understand potential applications of conversational AI within your organization
  7. Define the project's scope and set goals based on the gathered information
  8. Identify potential roadblocks and challenges, and develop strategies to overcome them
  9. Establish relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to be monitored once the solution is implemented
  10. Determine education, training, and governance requirements for internal teams working with conversational AI solutions
  11. Develop the right solution to drive results for the restaurant group and enhance the customer experience

Identify key stakeholders and define project objectives - Determine the individuals and teams involved in the project and establish clear goals and objectives to enhance customer experience and streamline restaurant operations.

Engage with internal stakeholders to uncover hidden organizational challenges - These challenges might not be on a product team's radar but can offer valuable insights to shape conversational AI strategies for the restaurant industry.

Conduct customer research to comprehend their needs and pain points - This may include surveying customers, analyzing customer feedback, and examining social media data.

Speak with customer-facing staff if direct customer interaction isn't possible - They'll have insights into the questions and challenges customers encounter before, during, and after making a purchase.

Analyze existing data and feedback to identify improvement opportunities - Examine customer feedback, industry trends, and market research to determine areas where conversational AI can enhance restaurant operations.

Study competitors' strategies - Better understand the industry landscape and potential applications of conversational AI within your organization by looking at what other organizations are doing within and even outside of your industry.

Define the project's scope and set goals based on the gathered information - Outline the specific features and functionalities of the conversational AI solution and establish clear objectives for the project.

Identify potential roadblocks and challenges, and develop strategies to overcome them - Identify possible challenges and risks that could hinder the project and develop tactics to mitigate those risks.

Establish relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to be monitored once the solution is implemented - Determine the critical measures of success for your conversational AI solution, such as customer satisfaction, cost savings, and increased revenue. By tracking these KPIs and metrics, you can evaluate your implementation's effectiveness and make data-driven optimization decisions.

Determine education, training, and governance requirements for internal teams working with conversational AI solutions - Ensure the smooth adoption and maintenance of new systems by creating a program to address the needs of internal teams.

Develop the right solution to drive results for the restaurant group and enhance the customer experience - Use insights from the discovery process to create a solution tailored to the business's and its customers' specific needs.

A successful discovery process for restaurant organizations

Case Study: A leading quick-serve restaurant (QSR)

During our collaboration with this leading quick-service restaurant (QSR), we deployed a comprehensive discovery process to identify the most valuable features and content for their conversational AI solution. By conducting research, interviewing stakeholders, and analyzing user behavior, we uncovered insights and prioritized features that would cater to the target audience's needs and preferences. This process enabled us to develop an effective Voice skill that addressed the core customer concerns while aligning with QSR's brand mission.

The well-structured discovery process led to the successful launch of a Voice skill that provided an intuitive, touchless interaction for users, allowing them to check offers, find locations, and start orders. It also included a restaurant finder, guided conversation for common questions, and a send-to-phone feature for seamless ordering across devices. As a result of our findings, the QSR expanded its Voice presence across multiple platforms, improving customer experiences and loyalty while reducing costs and face-to-face service demand during the pandemic.

Thanks to the discovery process, the launch of the Voice skill and action increased awareness and usage of the QSR's app. The success of this project can be attributed to our diligent and well-executed discovery process, which allowed us to tailor the conversational AI solution to the unique needs of the client and their customers.

Key Features and Results of the Voice Skill Implementation

Conclusion: Revolutionizing the restaurant industry with Conversational AI

Embracing innovative technologies for exceptional dining experiences

Implementing conversational AI and voice technology in your restaurant can significantly improve customer experience, streamline operations, and boost revenue. By understanding your business objectives and customers' needs, you can create tailored solutions that cater to your restaurant's unique challenges. Remember that the discovery process, research methodologies, and analysis play a vital role in ensuring the success of your conversational AI projects.

Get Started with a personalized consultation and expert guidance

Don't let the opportunity to revolutionize your restaurant with conversational AI slip away. By embracing these innovative technologies, stay ahead of the competition and deliver exceptional dining experiences. To get started, check out our new ebook "Serving Up Better Results"  or Contact Us to speak with our team of experts today for a personalized consultation. We'll guide you through every step of the process, from discovery to implementation, helping you develop the perfect conversational AI solution tailored to your restaurant's needs. Schedule a call with one of our specialists and embark on the journey to transform your restaurant operations and customer experiences. The future of dining awaits!

1. What are the benefits of aligning organizational goals and customer needs to maximize your restaurant's Conversational AI solutions in 2023?
2. How can restaurants ensure that their Conversational AI solutions are meeting customer needs?
3. What are the key challenges associated with aligning organizational goals and customer needs?
4. What strategies can restaurants use to ensure their Conversational AI solutions are up-to-date?
5. How can restaurants use Conversational AI solutions to improve customer experience in 2023?

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About the author
Scot is the co-founder and CCO of Pragmatic and a Voice tech expert who improves clients' marketing and customer experience. He leverages 24+ years of design, UX, and digital strategy experience to create effective voice experiences. He co-wrote "Voice Strategy" and is launching "Voice Marketing" in 2023. He speaks at industry events, gives guest lectures, and is an Ambassador for the Open Voice Network and instructor for the Marketing AI Institute.
Photo of a book cover for "Serving up better results" an ebook detailing how the restaurant industry can use conversational ai for their organization.

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