“AI disruption is coming.” Tire dealers hear this cautionary refrain as often as every other industry these days, as hype around ChatGPT and other generative AI technologies reaches fever pitch.
There’s no denying that service centers of all kinds will be impacted by the AI revolution. But tire dealers face a host of pressuring challenges today: persistent technician shortages, pressures to sell more maintenance work and grow service margins at the same time. Come next Monday morning, is AI going to help get more cars through the shop, more efficiently, with the quality service customers demand?
The truth is, when it comes to generalist systems like ChatGPT, the short answer is “probably not.” That’s because ChatGPT’s biggest strength is also its achilles heel – it appears surprisingly competent at nearly everything, while being truly expert at absolutely nothing. Plugging repair and maintenance questions into ChatGPT today generates directional, vague, and often incorrect answers. And in a business where minding the details of a given maintenance service can make or break customer loyalty, “almost” just doesn’t cut it.
Tire dealers earn customer trust and repair business by performing the services vehicles truly need based on their mileage and condition, and executing those services with precision – down to the millimeter or a tenth of a quart. As a result, most tire dealers that perform services subscribe to any number of repair databases, which technicians typically access the most traditional of ways – typing on computers outside the bay after they’ve taken off their gloves, washed their hands and set down their tools.
When every second and minute counts, the process to get to quality OEM information does not need to be this slow and manual. And thanks to advancements in voice AI technology, it no longer is.
Through voice-powered repair solutions like Ortho, tire dealer techs can tap into recent leaps made in natural language processing to access the repair information they need in seconds, without ever leaving the bay or using their hands. Unlike ChatGPT, systems like these are trained specifically to understand automotive terms of the trade, access definitive OEM databases, and allow users to speak, hear, and see information, rather than typing in a text-only format.
For younger technicians that have grown up digital, surrounded by Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant on their phones and in their homes, this method of interaction feels entirely natural. Ask and receive the answer, while keeping your hands and eyes elsewhere – in this case, on the vehicle being serviced. These next-gen technicians increasingly expect that technological conveniences from their personal lives will start to enter the workplace, and offering solutions like these shows that a shop is serious about efficiency – and being on the cutting edge.
And for more experienced technicians, this technology also brings major benefits. Longtime techs often assume they know a given torque spec, fluid type, or serpentine belt routing pattern on a specific model. But as more and more vehicle models proliferate with new standards, and computer repair software remains overwhelming or inefficient to use, there’s risk that relying on memory alone leads to mishandled jobs. When the barrier to data lookup is as low as asking out loud, there’s no risk of winging it – and no risk to quality.
Savvy tire dealers are right to look ahead a few years to the next big thing in shop technology, but for much-need improvements to the repair data access process, they need look no further than today.
About Eric Turkington
Eric Turkington is VP of Growth at Ortho, the first-ever voice assistant for technicians.
Ortho, the first-ever voice assistant for the automotive aftermarket, empowers auto service shops and professionals to work more efficiently and drive more revenue. Through a portable, hands-free solution, Ortho delivers accurate data on command, in seconds, right in the bay. From torque specs to fluid types, maintenance intervals to technical service bulletins and more, Ortho is the easiest and fastest way to access hundreds of data points for nearly every car on the road. Just say “Hey Ortho,” and go. www.heyortho.com