SAN DIEGO — BMW Financial Services will have automated “digital assistants” added to its call center capabilities by the third quarter, thanks to a partnership with startup CarLabs.AI, the tech company’s Chief Executive Martin Schmitt said at the Auto Finance Innovation Summit Wednesday.
CarLabs is a company that delivers AI-powered digital assistants for automotive brands. It started working with the captive after being selected from a handful of startups at BMW’s “CollaborationLab” in September 2018.
The first phase of the partnership will deliver automated customer service in the payment area. The digital assistant, or chatbot, will be able to answer customer questions, Schmitt said, such as, Did you get my payment? Did I get charged twice? Why did my payment go up?
With BMW Financial, the issue was “cost savings” rather than “additional sales or conversions,” he said, noting that the captive’s Columbus, Ohio-based call center already had “hundreds of highly trained” employees — the hurdle was scalability.
“It only scales by throwing money at it and more people, so for a few years they had been looking at solutions of ‘How do we automate this?’” Schmitt said. After CarLabs worked with BMW’s legacy systems in the CollaborationLab, Schmitt said the captive wanted to automate customer support on and off the website.
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The next phase, which was given no specific timeline, will focus on lease retention.
“The process is currently a one-size fits all, where nine months before the lease ends you get a fancy brochure in the mail,” Schmitt said. However, with conversational engagement and artificial intelligence, BMW Financial can have a much more relationship with the customer. For instance, the digital assistant could see in a CRM that the size of a customer’s household has increased, “so we’ll make a special [lease] offer for a car that seats seven,” he said.2 - Readers Like This Post