GM Financial will integrate IBM Watson, an AI-powered chatbot, to its consumer-facing messaging app as soon as the end of the third quarter, Bob Beatty, executive vice president of customer experience, told Auto Finance News.
The app, which launched last year, is averaging 62,000 downloads per month so far this year, Beatty said, noting that most of the app’s users are new customers. “We don’t necessarily have it at the scale we expect it to be this time next year,” he said, adding that the majority of GMF customers have yet to leverage the app. Once GM Financial integrates IBM Watson with its host system, the lender will be able to deliver answers to customers 24/7, which it is not able to currently do.
Initially, Beatty said he anticipates Watson will be able to address 20% to 30% of customer inquiries in an automated fashion. The questions are likely to be similar to questions that get phoned in, he said, such as, “Where do I send my payment?” or “Where do I find payoff information?”
The Fort Worth, Texas-based financier used an FAQ chatbot, which resides on the company’s website, as a stepping stone for the messaging app. Though the chatbot is not powered by artificial intelligence, “we learned a lot about how to effectively launch a messaging bot, but also learned our customers like it because it has instantaneous answers,” Beatty said.
Separately, GM Financial will leverage interactive voice response (IVR) deflection. Customers who call into a call center will immediately be asked if they’d rather conduct their business via text message. For those who choose that option, agents will send a secure form inside the text where customers can verify their identity.
Beatty pointed out that companies that have integrated IVR deflection have realized nearly 40% of customers opt to do business over text. GM Financial is working with LivePerson, a messaging vendor, and Servion, an IVR-specific third-party platform. Beatty expects the IVR deflection to be live by September.