Domino's simplifies ordering pizza using Dialogflow's conversational technology
Founded in 1960, Domino's now operates 14,000+ pizza restaurants in 85+ countries. Their drivers cover 10+ million miles to deliver 10.5+ million pizzas each week in the United States alone. For years, customers have been able to order pizzas via "Dom," a simple ordering bot available online and through the company's mobile apps. "We're one of the first in this space to launch our own artificially intelligent voice-ordering assistant through our own native apps," says Mandi Galluch, Domino's program leader for digital experience.
Determined always to innovate and keep pace with ever-changing consumer behavior, the company turned to building rich conversational experiences powered by natural language understanding (NLU) and machine learning.
Domino's began exploring various NLU solutions in August 2016. They ultimately chose Dialogflow for its ability to scale and accommodate the number of intents needed, one of the biggest pain points they initially encountered. "With a conversation that's more contained, you don't need as many paths that people can follow," Galluch explains. "But you can go in so many directions when ordering off our menu, and we needed to account for all of those."
The team also appreciated the user interface (UI), one of the core reasons they enjoy using Dialogflow. "It's user friendly, intuitive, and just makes sense," Galluch says. "The other key piece is the natural language processing (NLP), which is the best we've tried."
The scope for the project was larger than anyone had expected, but Domino's leveraged their 50+ years of customer service knowledge and Dialogflow's NLU capabilities to build both simple customer interactions and increasingly complex ordering scenarios. "We were able to spin up a solid customer experience pretty quickly," says Ken Natoli, the company's conversational commerce lead. Anyone using a device with the Google Assistant built in, such as a Google Home "can just say, ‘Hey Google, talk to Domino's,' and you're able to order right with us."
"Once our team began working with Dialogflow, we were able to move so quickly that we met or exceeded every milestone or goal," Galluch says. "We were so efficient because Dialogflow was easy to train people on, and easy to use."
The pizza bot's performance surpassed original expectations, but innovation at Domino's is a continual process. They recognize the importance of improving and fine-tuning the conversational experience to meet their customers' needs. "Our goal is to be on top of and ahead of customers' expectations. As we see people start to interact with the experience differently, we can anticipate and make the necessary adjustments," Galluch says.
"We continue to be happily delighted by the feedback we're getting," she adds. "We view conversational technologies as the next evolution in e-commerce, the future of the traditional e-commerce experience. Dialogflow helps us stay ahead of the curve."