The AI-voice bot customer service wave is coming at us fast, and the latest chain to roll out the technology is the sub-sandwich chain Jersey Mike’s.
Soundhound announced this week that Jersey Mike’s will deploy its voice AI ordering system to allow customers to place orders by phone. According to Soundhound, the AI has been trained on the entire Jersey Mike’s menu and can handle order placement and answer queries about menu items, specials, store information, and more, all while ensuring orders are taken accurately and efficiently.
The video below shows Soundhound’s Jersey Mike integration in action.
Like many voice AIs, it sounds about 90% natural in action, but there’s still something of an Uncanny Valley stiltedness to it. Listening to the order, it seems to handle the natural conversation flow deftly, but I have to wonder just how nimble it is with various dialects and slang, which can be a natural part of incoming phone orders.
Soundhound, a company that’s been around since the mid-aughts and had focused on auto installations and music until its move into customer service interaction layers for restaurants and retail over the past couple of years, announced the acquisition of SYNQ3 Restaurant Solutions last month. At the time of the deal, Soundhound said the merger extended “its market reach by an order of magnitude to over 10,000 signed locations and accelerating the deployment of leading-edge generative AI capabilities to the industry.”
Soundhound isn’t alone in chasing fast food chains to provide voice AI customer service platforms. Par Technologies, ConverseNow, and OpenCity also offer third-party solutions, while some players, like McDonald’s, have brought voice AI in-house through acquisition.
After a decade of pushing towards digital ordering kiosks and new ways to serve customers in-store and through apps, AI-powered customer service layers have moved to the top of the list for many big chains, including Jersey Mike’s.