26 February 2017
Volkswagen Middle East and Twitter have launched a pilot programme featuring a bot service to allow for speedier and more personalised responses to customers. This is the first automated experience developed for the automotive industry worldwide on Twitter’s new Direct Message platform, which was introduced last year to prompt people to send businesses a Direct Message instead of a public Tweet by simply clicking a button.
The international brands, working together with software firm, Brndstr, have developed a programme hosted on the Volkswagen Middle East Twitter channel @VWMiddleEast. The bot service, aptly named “Volksbot” has the ability to respond automatically in Arabic and English in rich media format through images and videos. Customers on Twitter can enquire about a range of topics, from information relating to the Volkswagen retail network to booking a test drive through the Twitter channel’s direct messaging service, and can watch video responses directly within the discussion feed.
Andrew Savvas, Brand Director Volkswagen Middle East, “Our focus in 2017 is to digitalize our business with world-class services for our customers. In 2016 the Volkswagen Middle East Twitter platform reached over 11 million impressions – we know our customers are listening and searching for new information across digital platforms – the question for us is to answer how can we best meet their needs on their preferred channel. The industry is changing rapidly; meeting our customer’s needs above and beyond, through innovation and remaining up-to-date, is a core focus for us as we explore new possibilities with brands that share our vision for the future”.
Benjamin Ampen, Head of Revenue, Middle East and North Africa, Twitter said, “Customer service was one of the earliest behaviours on Twitter - and over the last decade, we’ve seen Twitter become the best place for businesses to provide care to their customers. Twitter is live, it’s public, and it’s conversational - and these elements create the ideal climate for brands to be able to deliver the best customer care - publicly, via Tweet, or privately, via Direct Message. This programme falls in line with our efforts to build a canvas for better customer experiences with partners that aim to lead the industry through digitalised revolutionary changes.”
Simon Hudson, CEO, Brndstr, "We are extremely honoured to have been selected by Twitter to be one of the world’s first developer partners to build on the new Twitter DM API. By partnering with Memac Ogilvy and Volkswagen Middle East, we have been able to create the first ever test drive booking BOT to live inside Twitter. It has been a fantastic experience and we are excited to let the UAE market book their next test drive with Volkswagen Middle East via their very own Volkster BOT. As the regions first dedicated BOT studio we look forward to developing new digital assistants for brands on Twitter"
The Volksbot is available in English and Arabic, and can respond with video, images or text content to cues provided by the customer, when engaged to book a test drive, learn information about the newest Volkswagen model or learn quirky facts about the brand. The roll out of the software will begin first in the United Arab Emirates, before being opened to all GCC and Levant market for the Volkswagen Middle East retail network.