"Mandy Monroe" works relentlessly to reach out to customers of Lee Kia of Greenville in North Carolina to schedule service appointments.
A consistent revenue generator, Mandy doesn't complain, gossip, make personal phone calls on company time or pop chewing gum. Mandy doesn't even take bathroom breaks.
That's because Mandy is a cyberstaffer driven by artificial intelligence. The virtual assistant, created by the software provider Conversica, conducts email conversations with dealership service customers.
In a typical exchange, a Lee Kia customer gets an email that greets him or her by name and continues: "My name is Mandy Monroe and I wanted to make sure you got in touch with the Service Department about the first service on your Sportage. Would you like to schedule a service appointment?"
If the response is positive, the program forwards the lead to a service adviser or directs the customer to a scheduling tool on the dealership's website.
Lee Kia began using Conversica's software in mid-2016, says Chad Miller, the dealership's Internet director. The program sent email solicitations to 4,235 service customers last year, he says, and 18 percent responded favorably.
"Before Conversica, we had no way of determining actual engagement with a customer unless each representative kept a sheet of how many calls they made, if they talked to someone, if they left a message," Miller told Fixed Ops Journal.
The average Lee Kia service customer spends $130 per visit, Miller says. "For every 100 customers, if 18 of them are from Conversica, you could see about $2,340 in service from customer pay," he says.
The virtual assistant also enables Lee Kia's service appointment coordinator to handle tasks that require human contact and judgment, such as helping customers get rides home or to work on the dealership's shuttle, Miller says.