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Transforming Customer Engagement Using AI

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When you buy a new vehicle today, you automatically subscribe yourself to the usual ritual of taking the vehicle for the scheduled service so that the equipment is 100% operational and the warranty does not get void. This is not always a pleasant experience for the end customer since they have to keep track of the distance the vehicle has covered, or the days covered from the registration date to align with prescribed service schedules. Finally, when they take the vehicle for service, there may be a long waiting period, and in the end, the whole service may just be an inspection of the vehicle parameters and a basic preliminary service. This process creates apprehension in the mind of the customer regarding the whole process of scheduled service.

OEMs focus a lot on customer engagement in the initial phase of the customer lifecycle, but there are little efforts to improve the experience once the sale is done. This in turn severely impacts the customer retention process. With the advent of new technologies, maintaining a consistent customer experience throughout the lifecycle becomes easier for the companies.

 

Let’s look at a few existing solutions which can change the customer experience drastically while improving efficiencies upstream in the supply chain.

  • Vehicle Telematics combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI): Most of the modern vehicles today come with an inbuilt telematics solution from the factory floor or at least have it as an aftermarket option. This system can capture and transmit the real-time information of the vehicle to an AI solution which will identify when exactly the vehicle should be brought to a service center and at the same time communicate the same to the customer.

This will not only reduce the burden on the end customer to keep track of the scheduled maintenance but can also help to reduce the load on the service centers due to visits which may not be warranted. The solution can further suggest servicing slots (like booking movie tickets) to end customer so that load can be balanced across the complete servicing capacity.

This will also have a significant benefit upstream in the supply chain with parts supplier being able to predict the possible demand for their parts at various geographical locations during specific time intervals in the future, based on the real-time data while removing the total dependency on the historical data for production planning. The solution once developed needs to be delivered to the end customer in a robust and scalable platform.

  • Mobility: With over 37% of the world’s population expected to use a smartphone by 2018 from the 10% in the year 2011, this is a platform every company should take advantage of to reach to their end customers. By going mobile, companies can not only reap the benefit of being connected 24/7 with their customers but can use it as a platform to deliver wide array services both free and on demand. Companies can also use the mobile platform to communicate with their customers, provide a snapshot of the vehicle performance, help the customer book the servicing slot as per their convenience and provide customer support using integrated chatbots.

Integrating all the key stakeholders with such a solution can help improve the operational efficiency as well as the customer satisfaction. Customers get notified when a service is due and get an option to quickly schedule it in advance, while the servicing centers can see the expected number of vehicles for the future dates and have the resources allocated to get the most optimum results. For all the stakeholders upstream in the service chain such as the parts supplier, this could help them move from the demand push to a demand-pull model wherein their production plan is synchronized to the predicted service schedule and the part replacement. Hence, it is a kind of win-win situation for all the stakeholders in the service chain ecosystem.

Final Thoughts

AI-powered customer service is a new reality. Customers aren’t waiting for companies to catch up, they simply shift their loyalty to a competitor with superior experiences. Companies hesitating to adopt, or even experiment, with AI, are already losing the innovation game and losing customers. AI is the future, and the future is now.

Meet our AfterMarket experts at Warranty Chain Management conference, WCM 2018 in San Diego from March 6-8, Booth 11.

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