Ratchet and Wrench: How Shops Can Use AI to Improve Customer Communication

by Travis Bean

When the term “artificial intelligence” was coined back in 1955 by John McCarthy, the idea was simple: train computers to think and learn like humans.

“Machines as simple as thermostats can be said to have beliefs,” said the cognitive scientist in a 1979 article, “and having beliefs seems to be a characteristic of most machines capable of problem solving performance.”

From basic problem solving to learning new languages to social skills, AI has taken many forms over the years, and today just about every industry utilizes it. According to research company O’Reilly, one in five companies has incorporated AI in some way, shape or form.

And auto repair shops are no exception, as the term “artificial intelligence” will become part of the everyday when reaching customers, says Erica Sietsma.

“It’s already impacting service departments,” says the senior vice president of consumer engagement and product strategy at Digital Air Strike, which uses AI-powered software to track and communicate with drivers in a given market, “and now we’re seeing it take a step further.”

Other industry companies are following suit. In August, Auto Profit Masters’ launched its new AI-powered management system, and Openbay’s artificial intelligence just received an $8 million boost from Shell. From reaching drivers to completing repairs, here’s a breakdown of AI designed to streamline communication with customers.

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