Shell announced that it is the first company in the lubricants sector to launch an artificial intelligence-driven service for customers – Shell Virtual Assistant. It is an interactive one-stop shop on the Shell website where customers and distributors can ask common lubricant-related questions, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
According to Shell, customers and distributors type in their question via an online message window, and avatars Emma and Ethan reply back with an appropriate answer within seconds. The interaction is similar to a chat conversation, but instead of a live person on the other end, it is all done through artificial intelligence via a technology known as Natural Language Interaction. This technology allows interaction using normal, everyday language and is also in use in certain popular personal assistant applications.
This new lubricant service by Shell is now available to customers and distributors in the United Kingdom and the United States. Shell Virtual Assistant is capable of answering questions such as: where to buy lubricants, what pack sizes are available and give information about product technical properties. The service can also attend to requests for brochures, Technical Data Sheets (TDS), Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
“Shell offers a wide range of lubricant-related services in addition to our product range. Our services help customers choose and use the right product to improve their operations. Shell Virtual Assistant is the next step in our delivery of great support – it is like having a technical expert at your fingertips, ready to answer your technical questions anytime. We are now evaluating launching Shell Virtual Assistant to other markets and in other languages in the near future,” said Roger Moulding, vice president of global marketing.
Shell mentioned its Virtual Assistant can also make product recommendations based on customers’ equipment, by linking customers to Shell LubeMatch, a free online service where customers can find the lubricants for their vehicles and equipment.
“Shell Virtual Assistant also complements another Shell value-added lubricant service, Shell LubeAdvisor, another widely used service that helps customers optimize lubricants in their machinery,” Shell said. “It includes a web platform, a technical helpdesk, as well as local application experts for deeper technical support. In fact, for more complex technical questions that Shell Virtual Assistant cannot answer, users are re-directed to Shell LubeAdvisor.”