Mekonomen

Leading Scandinavian automotive parts retailer successfully resolves 95% of all incoming chat requests

Mekonomen’s virtual agent acts as a friendly concierge, directing customers to the information they need and empowering self-service

Mekonomen is the leading automotive spare parts retailer in Northern Europe. Through a network of workshops, physical stores and digital channels, the company offers automobile service and repair, in addition to a wide selection of aftermarket products available for purchase via an e-commerce platform.

In the summer of 2021, Mekonomen's Swedish operation relaunched its website with a new engine and webshop designed to enhance the overall customer experience. The goal was to shift some of the customer contact - 95% of which was conducted by phone - to online channels helping to lighten the load to the company's contact center.

Mekonomen's results at a glance...
Less than 10% of conversations transferred to the customer contact center
Virtual agent resolves 95% of conversations successfully

Previously, Mekonomen had implemented a live chat service but found that this presented similar bottlenecks to legacy support channels, leading to inefficiencies and long waiting times for customers.

"Our live chat was being overrun by the sheer volume of customer inquiries," says Daniel Johansson, Digital Services Manager at ProMeister, a Mekonomen subsidiary responsible for the company's customer service, internal support and training operations. "We identified AI as the answer to help scale our response to the volume of customer service traffic, cutting down the number of incoming requests while still providing a great customer experience."

Starting with a virtual agent and working outwards

Mekonomen worked with boost.ai to develop and launch an advanced virtual agent powered by conversational AI in July 2021. The virtual agent answers general questions related to the company's wide range of products and services and, crucially, guides customers to relevant pages and content on the Mekonomen website where they can find further information.

This allows the virtual agent to act as a concierge of sorts - if a customer wants to find a spare part or schedule a car service, it directs them to the answers they need quickly and empowers self-service. An interaction flow that has been a hit with Mekonomen's clientele.

"While the chatbot currently only guides customers to specific pages on the website, the response has been overwhelmingly positive," says Johansson, whose team monitors customer sentiment via a feedback tool built directly into the boost.ai platform. "Most customers aren't clicking around the site to find help. Instead, they start with the chatbot first and work their way outwards from there."

"We identified AI as the answer to help scale our response to the volume of customer service traffic, cutting down the number of incoming requests while still providing a great customer experience."

- Daniel Johansson, Digital Services Manager, ProMeister

This is bolstered by boost.ai's underlying Natural Language Understanding (NLU) stack which allows the virtual agent to maintain consistently high resolution rates per interaction, regardless of the volume of incoming traffic. Mekonomen reports that its virtual agent resolves around 95% of all requests successfully, with very few customers needing to be transferred to a human operator for further support.

"We work with a call center that handles our first-line phone calls and emails," says Johansson. "The bot transfers directly to this center and when we looked into how many conversations are actually transferred, it was less than 10%. We are only paying the center per call, so we basically have no cost running the chatbot."

Chatbots are the future of contemporary customer service

Another key part of Mekonomen’s success with conversational AI came from the hassle-free implementation of the project. The no-code nature of the boost.ai platform meant that Johansson’s team required zero technical background, and could focus on translating their customer service and product expertise into content for the virtual agent.

Boost.ai was on hand to provide support during the implementation and initial launch process, with weekly calls to look through conversation data, clean-up reports, synonym lists and more. This quickly became a formality as Johansson realized that, even only a few days after launch, the virtual agent was able to automate most interactions without any need for his team to intervene, other than to add new content and responses as necessary.

“It’s been great that the chatbot has been so reliable. From day one, it has done exactly what it is supposed to do.”

- Daniel Johansson, Digital Services Manager, ProMeister

Mekonomen plans to continue developing its virtual agent further - allowing it to do more than simply direct customers to helpful information. Johansson and his team have already begun exploring the possibility with boost.ai to expand the project’s scope to allow for deeper integration with the company’s other systems such as letting customers book car services directly in the chat.

“We look at chatbots as the future, something that you need to have today in order to be considered a contemporary customer service organization,” says Johansson. “It’s our goal to pioneer the use of AI in customer service for our market and demonstrate how this technology can be truly beneficial to our customers.”

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