Carvana Turns to AI For Customer Support | Auto Finance News | Auto Finance News

Carvana Turns to AI For Customer Support

Vehicles sit parked outside the Carvana Co. car vending machine in Frisco, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, June 8, 2017. The U.S. automotive industry may be struggling with an array of concerns ranging from sliding used-car prices to rising inventories, but they do not faze the co-founder and chief executive officer of Carvana Co., an online dealer for used cars. Photographer: Laura Buckman/Bloomberg

SAN DIEGO — Carvana is integrating a conversational artificial intelligence platform into its customer support channels, Christina Keiser, vice president of strategy, said at the Auto Finance Sales and Marketing Summit last week.

Propel.AI, which Carvana bought last year, is in the early stages of testing. “We think the human touch is important,” Keiser said. “[But we also want] the automated support channels [to be] so compelling that the customer may not reach a human, except when that touch really drives [the customer] experience forward.”

Carvana was engaged in a “healthy dialogue” for a few months before closing the transaction, Keiser noted. Once the deal was solidified, the online used car retailer and lender brought the new team to see its internal customer service operations.

“We think it’s really important that every choice we make with AI really reflects the way our customers naturally choose to interact with us,” Keiser said. “In certain circumstances, the customer was contacting us because they felt they had to, versus just getting the answer they needed at their fingertips through a channel that was more automated and immediately available. We never want to have a human touch stand in the way of the customer’s preference for that efficiency.”

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