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When the COVID-19 pandemic forced restaurants across the U.S. to close down, online food ordering platform ChowNow found itself with a unique opportunity.
While the company was concerned about the restaurant industry's fate, they also appreciated the growing need for takeout food and the technology to make ordering easier.
Demand for its platform suddenly shot up tenfold, said Stephanie Sullivan, senior director of growth operations at ChowNow. To meet the increasing demand, ChowNow leaned on conversation intelligence from sales technology provider RingDNA, which it had already used for more than two years.
AI in sales
Founded in 2012 as an intelligent dialer platform, RingDNA has steadily added AI-powered capabilities over the past few years. In late 2019, the company launched ConversationAI, a product that automatically transcribes and analyzes calls.
Machine learning and natural language processing allow ConversationAI to identify overtalk incidents, keyword use and language diversity. The product can also identify a sales rep's talk speed, change in their pitch and volume, and how often they speak compared to the customer, said RingDNA CEO and founder Howard Brown.
"This technology can be used for everything from customer success to customer support," he said. "You're getting a window into how people communicate -- what works and what doesn't."
Automatically surfacing these metrics saves time for sales managers, who often manage more than a dozen sales representatives,Brown added. Without AI-based technology, a manager would have to listen in on representatives' calls and manually note the keywords they use or how they speak, highlighting what helps cement sales and what doesn't.
With so many representatives under them, a manager may not have the time to record all of that information manually. ConversationAI enables managers to automatically see insights into how their staff performs on calls and get specific suggestions on how to better coach underperforming staff.
Other conversational AI tools have gained prominence in customer service, offering similar functions. Vendors in the market include Invoca, Chorus.ai, SalesLoft and Call Box.
Used for training
At ChowNow, sales representatives mark their best sales calls within the ConversationAI platform. By automatically annotating transcriptions and highlighting successful parts of the call, ChowNow then shows these calls to new and underperforming sales staff, helping them learn the right way to make calls, Sullivan said.
Trained on a database of around 200 million calls, ConversationAI works well out of the box, Brown said. Still, users can customize the product by feeding it the name of its competitors, keywords to listen for and other features.
Stephanie SullivanSenior director of growth operations, ChowNow
"We're just touching the surface on the insights we're able to extract from every single conversation," Brown said.
At ChowNow, every client-facing employee uses RingDNA, whether through its ConversationAI product or its Intelligent Dialer. This tool dials leads from local area numbers, records calls, and leaves pre-recorded voicemails while capturing all data in Salesforce.
"We all benefit from this extra level of analysis," Sullivan said of RingDNA.
ChowNow noted that RingDNA periodically ran into challenges, but then worked with the vendor to fix problems after a day or two.
"It's a very strong line of communication," Sullivan said.