Kia uses AI chatbot to talk to shoppers

Kia has introduced an artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant known as Kian, the company said Monday. The move is yet another example of how auto manufacturers are working to improve the online car shopping experience for consumers.

The carmaker teamed up with marketing-tech and conversational commerce platform provider CarLabs and its digital agency Ansible to create the AI-driven chatbot. Kian’s role is to provide consumers with information about products, local inventory, current prices and offers, and comparisons to competitive vehicles — and all through Facebook Messenger.

“In our ever-changing digital world, Kian is programmed to understand individual customer needs and then provide shopping decision support instantly and intuitively,” said Saad Chehab, vice president, marketing communications, Kia Motors America. “Shoppers and Kia owners can chat with Kian on their own time, with no pressure and on the mobile messaging platform they use the most.”

Kia’s new chatbot also allow shoppers to view photos and videos and find nearby dealers. Consumers can ask the bot specific questions about hundreds of topics, Kia said, and connect with the automaker’s Consumer Affairs or live chat representative at the same time if need be.

“As more shoppers use the system, it learns to anticipate questions, provides more specific answers and gets smarter over time,” said Martin Schmitt, CEO and Co-Founder of CarLabs, Inc. “Having access to that level of shopper data is a powerful tool for understanding and serving customers better than previously possible.”

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Canadian auto dealer