Auto Service World
News   July 5, 2024   by Adam Malik

How AI can help more than just your customers

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It would be wrong to think about artificial intelligence as something that would help the automotive aftermarket strictly with customer engagement.

Instead, Ben Ellencweig, senior partner at McKinsey, told a room full of industry pros that it assists with what he calls ‘human engagement.’

“Human engagement is your technician, your customer, your employee and your supplier,” he said at the MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers Conference. “Anything where there’s some kind of interaction, [AI] actually is something that can be helpful.”

The question of whether AI can work isn’t related to your industry — it’s a matter of competence. For Ellencweig, someone who says they understand AI but doesn’t see an application to their industry has the wrong mindset.

“You can actually rethink, holistically, how you do things in your company,” he said during his presentation, AI & Vehicles: A Good Match? “How do you design a new product? How do you give service?”

He gave an example of research that found people preferred to speak to a robot when they had a problem. People didn’t care for a human’s niceties or the corporate script; they just wanted the problem solved. Take an airline cancellation — people would rather just give their reference number to a bot and have the system figure out an alternate flight and process a new ticket.

Now think about how it can be applied to your jobber store or service shop. Think about when you’re sending emails or texts to clients or staff. You want to personalize the message because it generates a better response from the receiver. But personalization is time-consuming. AI can help. You can put bullet points into a generative AI system and it can create a personalized message.

“I do think the application here … [is] just massive,” Ellencweig said.

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