Our client is Vanarama, the UK's leading van leasing company. Established in 2004 by CEO Andy Alderson, Vanrama has achieved consistent growth through innovation -- particularly with how they implement technology.
Though Vanarama is growing fast, there was an untapped opportunity to reach more customers at scale and speed, without losing the personal touch.
In early 2017, Andy reached out to ubisend with, yet again, another innovative idea: allow Vanarama's customers to browse, select, and lease vans through an AI-driven chatbot.
Introducing iVan, Vanarama's sales chatbot
Early on in our conversation, Vanarama had settled on a name for their up-and-coming chatbot: iVan.
iVan was to live on the Vanarama website, as both a full-page chatbot and a pop-up widget.
The widget appears in the bottom right of the user's screen, offering both instant customer service and guiding them through the leasing journey.
Here are some of iVan's many features:
Answer hundreds of frequently asked questions
Take users through an end-to-end van leasing journey, including credit checking and finance approval
Close deals itself, without human intervention
Hand over warm leads to human salespeople
Report internally on performance
Multi- and cross-channel
A/B test its appearance and engagement on the frontend of the website
Let's dig into some of the features that have so far enabled iVan the chatbot to close over 500 sales and create 30,000 leads.
Redesigning a complex sales process into a chatbot
Leasing a vehicle is not a simple conversation. It's an intricate, complex, and personal data-heavy process. ubisend engineers first had to understand this complex process before they could write a single line of code.
ubisend worked closely with Vanarama's salespeople to dissect each step. Together, we designed our leasing chatbot's conversational flow: between 25 and 30 steps from initial hello to final approval.
The flow also contains over 20 distinct intents and entity recognition for all the major makes of vehicles. These intents and entities, powered by complex natural language processing engines, ensure Vanarama's chatbot users never get lost or stuck. At any point during the conversation, a user can ask service and support questions, receive an answer, and resume the sales journey.
Dealing with personal information
A big part of Vanarama's chatbot is the ability to handle private data. Leasing a van, unsurprisingly, involves the user sharing a lot of personal data: personal details, financial statements, credit checks, and more.
This would not be possible without strong encryption, and protection of all the data, at every point of the conversation.
Multi-channel sales chatbot
Do you know what's better than an AI-driven chatbot? A multi-channel AI-driven chatbot.
Vanarama's target audience has a significant presence on Facebook. Potential customers reach out to them every day through their Facebook page and Facebook Messenger.
iVan now works seamlessly across three channels: Facebook Messenger, website full page and a website widget.
Vanarama's chatbot dashboard and ROI
Reporting on a chatbot's performance is just as important as the chatbot itself. It's why we ship a custom reporting tool with every solution.
Vanarama's chatbot dashboard reports on some of the business' key metrics, applied to iVan.
The funnels section allows us to understand where users are getting lost during their conversation.
Are they getting to the stage where they pick the colour of the vehicle and then leaving? Or, do they go to the very end of the conversation and request a call before making payment?
This is not only valuable information for the sales team, but also for the content team that manages iVan's messages and tone.
iVan also likes feedback. Users are encouraged to leave a review after their conversation. This helps Vanarama keep a pulse on performance and creates a feedback loop for continuous improvement.
Over the last month, 75% of user reviews rated iVan as 5 out of 5 stars.
Here is a sample of the feedback iVan received this month:
"Was at ease through the whole process", Corey G.
"Brilliant", Jason A.
"Very clear and efficient", Stephen H.
"Simple and easy to get a quote. Very helpful and useful", Tommy M.
"Easy chat and clear explaining.. the best website for a quick quote", Orlando P.
The chatbot's dashboard displays a total of nine reports with tens of metrics in each.
iVan creates and nurtures leads automatically, all day, every day. It replies to over 4,000 messages per day, and over 5,000 unique users per month.
Over time, Vanarama's sales chatbot has closed almost 600 deals without any staff involvement and has handed over 30,000 warm leads to salespeople.
What's next for Vanarama's AI chatbot?
Vanarama is investing more time and resources into the project. It's no surprise, seeing how well iVan is performing.
First, Carli. Carli is iVan's counterpart. Vanarama isn't just a van leasing company, it's also a car leasing company (get it? Car-li). Carli will focus on expanding the work of iVan, further increasing revenue by offering users access to a new product line.
Then, optimisation. We are working closely to optimise every interaction, every message, every conversation and every process.
ubisend is proud to be a part of Vanarama's journey into artificial intelligence and chatbot technology. Vanarama's CEO Andy's vision and implementation of the 'next big thing' has been proven, once again, to be accurate.
Jamie Buchanan, CTO and iVan project owner at Vanarama says:
ubisend's chatbot technology has done wonders to our bottom line. Our sales chatbot is not just another sales tool. It has a real presence, an in-depth knowledge of our complex sales process, and a positive impact on our customers.
iVan interacts with the customers on various platforms, including our website and via Facebook Messenger – this is where our customer is. iVan talks to our customers and sources the vehicles they want. It then works with our sales team, handing them the leads to then convert into a sale. While iVan may have converted 517 sales of his own, he's passed on over 30,000 warm leads on to our people.
It's not AI replacing the sales team – it's AI working with them.