Here’s Our Breakdown Of AI Phone Answering Services To Help You Decide If This Technology Is Right For Your Restaurant.
If you’re paying attention to the news, you’ve seen how AI and its abilities are making leaps and bounds in development. The technology is revolutionizing many industries, and hospitality is no exception.
One AI capability gaining traction in restaurants is AI voice concierge or AI phone answering services. Restaurants can now manage customer phone calls without having someone in-house babysitting the phone during a busy service.
For example, imagine two hosts managing the front. While one is seating a table, the other host is responsible for greeting new guests and answering the phone.
The phone rings while simultaneously, a new group walks through the door. In this scenario, the newcomers will have to wait while the host picks up the phone, leaving the guests to linger by the front door until the call is complete or the second host returns.
With AI phone answering services, the call gets picked up, and the walk-ins receive a warm, memorable welcome. If this scenario sounds familiar and you’re looking for a similar solution, AI might be a good fit.
Let’s examine the pros and cons of using an AI phone answering service.
Pros Of Using AI To Manage Your Restaurant’s Phones
Though AI is relatively new to our industry, it’s found answers to many problems plaguing restaurant phone systems for years.
Most of these solutions help both the restaurant and the guest simultaneously.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
Here’s a quick list of why customers love AI managing the phone:
- Available 24/7— It’s super convenient; they don’t need to wait for the restaurant to open to ask a question.
- Super easy to use— They can talk to the chatbot as if they were talking to a real person.
- Customers never get put on hold— AI software can handle unlimited calls simultaneously.
- It’s multichannel— Guests can call, then ask AI to send the information via text or email.
- Self-serve— Customers like it when they don’t have to talk with a staff member.
We live in a world of convenience, and customers expect a certain degree of ease—AI phone software helps restaurants meet those expectations.
Depending on which software company you use, there is a monthly cost to using AI services—anywhere from $50-$600 or more per month based on the number of calls received.
That said, the increase in business can quickly pay for the investment in AI phone answering services.
Think of all the missed opportunities when people hang up because they weren’t helped in a timely manner, whether from being put on hold or no one picking up the phone.
Not finding a solution to this problem is leaving money on the table.
AI reduces the workload on staff so they can focus more intently on customers in-house, saving guests from waiting while the phone gets answered. It also saves on labor costs as staff won’t have to spend time answering the phone.
Additionally, customers on the phone feel valued because they are provided with fast, precise, and professional answers to their FAQs. Since the system has preprogrammed replies, it eliminates the possibility of human error, ensuring that customers receive accurate information every time.
Cons of Using AI Phone Software
AI phone software has a lot of pros, but it does come with drawbacks.
Lacks a Personal Touch
The vast majority of people like the fact that they don’t need to speak with a human, but there will be customers who find talking with a robot offputting.
Usually, this attitude stems from a bad experience in the past, and they don’t trust an automated system.
Inevitably, the system won’t understand some of its customers due to accents or speech issues. This can be problematic or embarrassing for some people, so it’s something to consider.
AI also won’t understand more complex questions. There’s always the option to route the call to a staff member, but talking first with a chatbot before getting a real person could be frustrating for a customer, especially if they are already upset when they call.
If AI fails, just like any other modern system, it will burden your staff with the call load as support works to resolve the issue. If this happened on a busy night, it would be a very tough service.
Consider whether or not your restaurant could still operate if this were to happen.
Are AI Phone Services Worth It?
To know whether or not AI phone answering software is a good investment for your restaurant, you’ll need to look closely and honestly at what your restaurant’s needs are at this moment.
If your phone stays pretty quiet, it might not be the most economical option.
However, if your phone is quiet, but you’re working to change that with something like a rebranding, then an AI phone system would be a tremendous asset to your restaurant as new customers reach out. Guests would view your restaurant as modern and convenient, and you’d never lose an opportunity from missed or dropped calls, helping to drive growth and revenue.
If your phone is ringing off the hook the moment you open, AI would 100% be beneficial to your restaurant. It can handle an unlimited number of phone calls so your staff can focus more intently on customers inside the restaurant.
AI Phone Answering Companies
If you’re looking for a reputable AI phone company, check out Slang.ai to learn how AI can help your restaurant’s phones. It also connects with some of the industry’s more popular reservation systems, and it’s risk-free to try. If you like their services, you can start for as little as $200 a month, depending on call volume.
Popmenu is a restaurant solutions platform with multiple offerings, from online ordering systems to AI phone answering services. If you want a complete online and phone service overall and want it all under one umbrella, give them a look. To find out how much Popmenu costs, you’ll need to schedule a demo.
ConverseNow is another restaurant-focused AI phone answering company that works with bigger names like Domino’s and Wingstop. While ConverseNow is a market leader in AI phone answering capabilities, I can’t find any information on integration with reservations platforms like OpenTable or Resy. ConverseNow doesn’t share pricing, which could be a red flag that it’s pricey.
Before reaching out, understand your current call volume, budget, and phone-related challenges—AI is a great way to stay current with customer expectations and grow your business at the same time.