BMW’s personal assistant heralds a new era for motor finance

BMW recently announced its Intelligent Personal Assistant. Simon Cadbury explores the benefits of voice technology for the motor finance industry.

News that the latest BMW 3-series features an Intelligent Personal Assistant has implications for the motor finance industry. It’s widely believed that the visual and voice tools will rapidly become the dominant way we engage with brands, with experts in voice technology such as Brian Roemmele advocating the ‘voice-first’ revolution, where interaction with brands are device-less.

Some commentators were quick to mock the recent launch of the Amazon Basics Microwave, which works with an Alexa device, such as an Echo or Echo Dot. However, the implications are that we no longer need to learn a new user interface or menu structure when we buy a device (remember trying to program the VCR?). Let’s take this thinking to the auto industry: Humans don’t learn how to get the most out of their car – they rarely read the user manual!

According to a survey from J.D. Power, nearly a third of those with built-in car navigation used it for less than two weeks before giving up on it and using their phone instead. And more than half never used the built-in navigation at all. The stage is set for the likes of BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant to enable the user to get more out of the car.

So what does this mean for the motor finance industry?

​​Motor finance providers struggle to engage their customers. Once acquired, interaction with the customer is limited, which in turn leads to poor retention rates. Integrating the service into intelligent personal assistants, as well as car dashboards, enables them to engage their customers in more ways than ever before. Think about when they’re sat in a traffic jam – a captive audience if ever there was one!

​​Intelligent personal assistants also help them move into commerce, enabling payment for fuel/charging, parking, fast food, in-car entertainment, and so on. These examples can be tied into a wider, more flexible, finance agreement. As Amazon Marketplace has shown us, you don’t have to sell the products directly to make money.

​​The OEMs have a limited window of opportunity with offerings from the tech giants, such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa & Apple Siri, breathing down their necks. McKinsey says the value pool from car data and mobility could add up to more than USD 1.5 trillion by 2030. This justifies Google’s decision to splash out  $1.3bn in June 2013 in purchasing Waze. (And Waze is currently piloting a carpool service that will enable every driver to rent out their spare seats in an Uber-type model.)

​​Voice assistants have the potential to empower brands in gathering more robust information about consumer habits, and early responders will see an increase in revenue, new customers and customer satisfaction. What BMW is doing, and others will do too, is tapping into the opportunities voice technology will enable to make the user experience better.

​​ieDigital is an expert at integrating into core banking systems and transforming the digital customer experience. Please get in touch to see how we can help your organisation prepare for a voice-first world.

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